The Book Club Blog

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The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes

on May 26, 2013

The review you have all been waiting for!

So, before we get down to the nitty gritty part of this review, I have to first admit to not having read any of her other books. I tried Moxieland but could not get into it and abandoned it not very far in. So, it was with slight trepidation that I picked this one up to check it out. I read the back cover –

The girl who wouldn’t die.

Hunting a killer who shouldn’t exist.

(Those first two sentences already had me intrigued)

Chicago, 1931. Violent drifter Harper Curtis stumbles upon a house that hides a secret as shocking as his own twisted nature: it opens onto other times. Harper uses it to stalk his ‘shining girls’ across decades – and cut the fire out of them.

He’s the perfect killer. Unstoppable. Untraceable. Until one of his victims survives and turns the hunt around.

Chicago, 1992. Kirby Mazrachi’s determination to find the man who tried to kill her has taken over her life. The cops no longer return her calls. Her mother copes by writing morbid children’s books. Her only ally is Dan, the burnt-out ex-homicide reporter who covered her case.

As Kirby closes in on her would-be killer, what she finds is…impossible. Murders scattered across the decades along with evidence that makes no sense.

Meanwhile Harper is closing in on her too.

The premise of this book is what intrigued me. The idea of a time travel thriller was a unique and novel one. So, I started to read it in the bookshop. I always like to read a few pages before I buy a book (I’m sure I am not the only person to do this??) and Lauren Beukes writing gripped me from page one. Unlike her previous novels.

It was creepy and gripping and unputdownable. I was a bit concerned that I would not be able to read this book at night time ( I am not a fan of going to sleep with gruesome images in my head) but I didn’t have to worry. Yes, the murders were gruesome and completely unsympathetic to the victim but the writing was compelling. Saying that, I did manage to read most of this in a couple of days so didn’t have to contend with much night time reading…

This novel is weird, very well written, slightly macabre and rather disturbing. This violent man, Harper, stumbles on this house which draws on his inner nature to  kill woman for their ‘shine’.And through many decades through time travel via this very house. What I did find rather disappointing is that you never really find out  the ‘why’ of this . (I like to know the why of the weirdness, does that make sense?)

Kirby, the victim who survives her attack is  sarcastic(her coping mechanism for her trauma) and determined to track down her would be killer. I liked the portrayal of her and especially when Dan comes onto the scene. I enjoyed the sceptism of Dan as Kirby discovers the impossible, his growing feelings for Kirby and when is disbelief is suspended when they work together to catch Harper.

The ending was not sufficient for me, I was a tad disappointed but yet, I can also see the full circle effect and well, you will have to read it as I don’t want to give too much away, the creepiness of the ending.

Lauren Beukes has definitely entered the world of not just a South African author, if her other work has not put her on the world map already, this certainly will!

Read it if you dare….


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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
The Shining Girls - Lauren Beukes, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

3 Responses to “The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes”

  1. Shayne says:

    Hmmm, i want to but not sure. Will have to give it a bash when I see u ….. IN JULY!

  2. Tessa says:

    Nice review! Have it on my Kindle and hoping to start it this week 🙂

  3. […] see my review on The Shining Girls go here and for those of you who have read her other books, do they all contain serial killers? Or is it […]

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