Review: The Shining Girls ~ Lauren Beukes

The Shining GirlsTHE 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 . . .

3 Thumbs-UpTime travel and a serial killer all in one book, sounds like the ideal read for anyone who loves these two genres, but I found it to fall short in many areas; it either needs to be longer so it can have more substance than I found it to have, or undergo some serious editing at the hands of a skilled editor.

The characters in the novel are many, and come from all walks of life, but that’s where they seem to end; there is no depth to any of the characters in the book, apart from one, and the reader may find themselves wanting to know more about the women before they met their untimely ends.  The main protagonist is very unlikable, and although the reader understands that many of her traits are a result of her traumatic childhood, it’s the accompanying attitude that leads the reader to be unable to empathize with her in any way.

This is a book that demands that reader pay attention to the dates each chapter is set in, and the characters involved in that chapter and, as interesting as the time travel aspect may seem to be, the reader is not given nearly enough explanation or background into the mechanics behind the time travel.  We are also let wondering why the killer is being urged to fulfil the murders and this seemed to me to be a key part of the book.

As much as I was expecting to be totally engrossed in this book, after all who couldn’t be when they were promised a time travelling murderer, what I actually found within its pages was a novel that was almost impossible to read to its conclusion with some kind of confusion setting in surrounding the time line. The novel certainly does not skimp on detailed description of the gruesome murders, and the reader is allowed to ‘share’ for lack of a better word, the sexual gratification the murderer receives from each kill; so if this isn’t your idea of a good read, I would advise you to give it a wide berth.  One part of the novel that I did find well written were the connections between the time periods that were created by clues left on each body, in this area the Author did an exceptional job.  The Author also manages to create a feeling of terror in their writing too with the visit of each victim whilst they are in their youth from the killer.  If the Author had been able to keep this level of anticipation and dread running throughout the length of the book, it would definitely have been reviewed higher.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys time travel, sci-fi, and murder novels to give it a try.

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