Thursday 8 May 2014

Review - The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining GirlsThe Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - HarperCollins

Pages - 399

Blurb from Goodreads


The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own."

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.

At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He's the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.

Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . .

THE SHINING GIRLS is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

My Review

I don't think I opened this appreciating it was a time travel book so I was really confused for a good bit of it. Reading other reviews I don't think it sounds like it was clearly highlighted although I read it on the kindle and very rarely these days do I read the blurb. Harper Curtis is our killer, the book opens with him in the 1930s visiting one of his future victims. He calls them his shining girls and always goes back to meet them when they are children and visits again to murder them as adults in the future. The book bounces between the 1930s and the 1990s, there are a few characters and each chapter has their name at the top so you know who it is about. Kirby should be dead, she is one of the shining girls who Curtis took care of, or so he thought. A game of cat and mouse begins when he realizes she is still alive and Kirby knows, despite details not making any logical sense, that her would be killer is out there and she means to stop him.

This book took a while to get to grips with, it was interesting enough although the time and character jumps took a bit of getting used to and sorting through. Once I realized what was going on I got on a lot better with the story. Harper is driven to contact and then later, through time gaps, kill them as they are the shining girls and have to die. Anyone who gets in his way is also in peril however they are his main focus. He isn't a particularly crafty killer, barring the fact he can time travel but the murders themselves are hideously brutal and gorey.

I think the idea for this book is a really good one, I read one by Joe Hill that was a similar theme, chosen ones to die and time travel however this one needs something more. I think had there been an explanation up front of why they are chosen and everything that follows after then the book would have, for me, been much more enjoyable. I don't like when I have to come up with the hows and whys, I know some readers do, I also don't like to be left with questions and hanging. That said, the way the characters and events are linked is done well which is why the rating for this one is 3/5. I had never read her before and whilst I would try her work again, I won't be rushing out to buy them all up. I believe she has a new one coming out in July, 2014 so will keep an eye on the reviews for that one.

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  1. I have this one on my TBR pile and am wanting to read it. I haven't read too many time travel books, but the mystery/thriller part of the book is what initially drew me to it. Thank you for your insightful review!

  2. The idea of someones killer visiting one throughout periods of one's life can really be a disturbing thought.

    I agree that in a a book like this I would also not want to figure out the mechanics of what was going on either.


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