24 October 2016

Book Review: The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls

Title: The Shining Girls
Author: Lauren Beukes
Published: 04/06/2013, Umuzi
Pages: 384
Source: Gift from work colleague
Format: Ebook

Rating: 3/5

"The girl who wouldn’t die. Hunting a killer who shouldn’t exist.

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 Shining Girls is your average mystery/thriller really, but with the added twist of time travel. Something I thought was very unique. It's a very fast, confusing read that really hooks the reader in straight away.

The Shining Girls is set in Chicago over various time periods from 1931 to 1993. The different time periods did get quite confusing at times, especially because the story is told from multiple point-of-views. The majority of the characters were fairly likeable, other than Harper of course. A few of the characters are only in the story for a chapter or so, therefore it is hard to get to know a few of them. However, I still really felt for all the girls, though, but some are more memorable than others.

I did really like Kirby. Her determination to find out what happened to her is admirable. However, she did veer towards vigilante at times.

I don't think The Shining Girls is predictable at all. The various time periods and point-of-views do confuse the story somewhat. But, I think this confusion does highlight Kirby's confusion as she tries to work out who the killer is.

The Shining Girls has a very fast paced plot due to the short chapters and switching point-of-views. Overall, I'm not sure how logical the time travelling aspect of the story is as no explanation is given really. But I suppose this adds to the real mystery of the story.

The story ends quite loosely, I think. It's very climatic and nail-biting and the majority of the plot lines are tied up. However, the story is still left fairly open.

I enjoyed The Shining Girls very much despite my confusion. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of mystery and thrillers who are looking for something a bit different.

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