Book Review: The Shining Girls By Lauren Beukes

Book Review: The Shining Girls By Lauren BeukesThe Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Published by Mulholland Books on June 4th 2013
Pages: 375

The Girl Who Wouldn't Die Hunts the Killer Who Shouldn't Exist
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.

What made me read this book? Time travel. I saw it as a really “twisted” version of Doctor Who. In this case, the killer would be The Doctor and he travels in time in this house aka ‘The Tardis” looking for his next companion which he would turn into his next victim. Yes, there you have it folks…a pretty messed up Doctor Who fanfic, but that is not what the book is about.

Kirby the main character is AMAZING. She survives a very horrific murder attempt on her life. She is courageous, funny, super independent, very clever and determined. I think that if the novel did not have such a brilliant main character to center itself around, it probably would have fallen apart. 

Time Travel. I have always been fascinated with this concept. There is no explanation as to why “the House” can time travel, it just does. The time frame being from the late 1920s to the 1990s in the same city.

There was a creep-tastic villain, named Harper, a hobo from the Great Depression era. You don’t have too much information about his background, family life etc. We know that while some of the reason he kills is because “the House” is making him do it, but there is more to it than that. He is sadistic and likes meeting the girls when they are children and pursuing them until they get to a certain age. However, he feels a bit underwritten too. He is mainly just a guy with a knife, killing women because he has a deep hate for them.  He is cruel and sadistic but we don’t know why, or what makes him this way. He just is. He hunts down all these “shining” girls because in his messed up head he thinks if he kills them all for “the House,” there will be a greater purpose revealed to him in the end. We never  find out why these girls are considered “shinier” than others, what makes them Shining Girls. (I am assuming it’s just based on all the potential they have, but Chicago is a big town, and there has to be plenty of equally potential filled girls there.)

Besides Kirby, the other victims don’t get much “book time”, and their stories are rushed through or told as quickly as possible. It almost felt like their murders were not as “important” as Kirby’s  (except when describing the gruesome scenes). The end also felt rushed and sort of bundled together. The research for the time period and city was very well done.

I will definitely read more books by Lauren Beukes and I hope she continues to grow and develop as a writer, and that her stories expand with her.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**