Book Review: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Posted January 13, 2016 by @Angelized_1st in 2016 Horror Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 2 Comments

Book Review: The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesThe Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
on June 4th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, General, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Historical, Occult & Supernatural, Contemporary Women
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
ISBN: 9780316216845
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks


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.

The Shining Girls is a time-traveling thriller about a serial killer hunted by “the one who got away.” Harper Curtis stumbles upon the biggest prize when he discovers a building that allows him to travel through time. The only catch? He must kill a series of girls who “shine” when he sees them. The only thing to guide him is the house telling him where to go by a series of trinkets from each other the victims. Harper finds the women when they’re little girls, and goes to reclaim them for the house once they’ve all grown up. Each time he kills he leaves his “Shining Girls” a present, while taking a trophy to bestow on his next victim.

Kirby Mazrachi is the only victim to ever survive Harper’s ruthless embrace. Determined to catch her would-be killer, Kirby becomes an intern at The Chicago Sun-Times to work with the former homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez. Dan was the man who covered her case, and the only one still willing to talk to her about it. As the story progresses, Kirby ends up on a collision course with Harper, who’s determined to tie up loose ends once and for all.

I really enjoyed this novel. The time jumping was a bit weird, but also reminded me a bit of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, which I read in December. Both Harper and Kirby were interesting characters, and I enjoyed the cat and mouse game they played. I also really enjoyed the mystery author Lauren Beukes set up with the time traveling house, and how all of the time jumps connect. In the end, The Shining Girls is a novel I’m still contemplating. I recommend this novel to readers interested in mystery, suspense, and horror.

About Lauren Beukes

Lauren Beukes is a novelist, scriptwriter, comics writer, TV writer and occasional documentary maker and former journalist.

She won the Arthur C Clarke Award and the Kitschies Red Tentacle for her phantamagorical noir, Zoo City, set in a re-imagined Johannesburg.

Her previous novel, Moxyland is political thriller about a consumertopia corporate apartheid state where cell phones are used for social control.

The Shining Girls, her new novel, due out mid-2013 is about a time-travelling serial killer and the girl who survives his attack and turns the hunt around.

She’s also written Fairest: The HIdden Kingdom, a six part mini-series spin-off of Bill Willingham’s Fables for DC/Vertigo, about Rapunzel in Tokyo, with art by Inaki Miranda.

As a TV writer, she’s written for various kids shows including Florrie’s Dragons (Disney UK) and Mouk (Millimages) and. as head-writer, co-created South Africa’s first half hour animated show, The Adventures of Pax Afrika that ran for 3 years on SABC3. She also wrote the pilot episode for the political satire puppet show, Z News and episodes of the Desmond Tutu travel show The South African Story.

She’s directed episodes of Pax Afrika and her debut documentary, Glitterboys & Ganglands, about South Africa’s biggest female impersonation beauty pageant has shown at festivals internationally and won Best LGBT Film at the Atlanta Black Film Festival in 2012.

She’s currently adapting Zoo City as a feature film for Oscar-nominated producer Helena Spring.

In 2006, she graduated with her MA in Creative Writing from UCT, but she got her real education in ten years of freelance journalism, which gave her the best possible excuse to meet interesting people and indulge in extraordinary experiences from diving with sharks to hanging out with wannabe teen vampires and township vigilantes.

She lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband and daughter.


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