Nothing Like a Time-Traveling Serial Killer (Book Review)

book cover of The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesThe Shining Girls

by Lauren Beukes
Mulholland Books, 2013
ISBN:  9780316216852
375 pages

It’s 1931. Harper Curtis is on the run from the law when he discovers the House. Initially entering to hide, Harper realizes that the House allows him to travel backwards and forwards in time. He immediately senses how he must use this house–to find, stalk, and kill young women that “shine” to him, girls with great potential from various parts of 20th Century Chicago.

It’s 1992. Kirby Mazrachi is a spirited young survivor of a horrific attack by an unknown assailant that should have killed her. Haunted by the fact that her attacker is still at large, the determined Kirby takes an internship with ex-crime-reporter-turned-sports-writer Dan Velasquez to dig deeper into her own case. Will Kirby and Dan be able to piece together the pieces of the puzzle Harper has strewn across the decades before Harper comes back to finish her off?

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes is a fast-paced, dark tale that mainly alternates between Harper and Kirby’s points-of-view. Kirby is a great heroine; she is brave, smart, and eminently easy to cheer for. Beukes also includes at least one chapter from the perspective of each victim as well, allowing us to get to know these bright, brave young women before they are lost to the world. Told in this manner, The Shining Girls becomes not only an intricately plotted story of suspense, but also a portrait of Chicago and the various challenges faced by women throughout the 20th Century. While it is not for the faint-of-heart, you might like The Shining Girls if you like digging deep into the mind of a twisted criminal, strong female characters, or suspenseful and slightly horror-filled page-turners.

Click here to find a copy of The Shining Girls at Saint Paul Public Library

You Might Also Consider…

  • If you like a suspenseful story with an unusual premise that will mess with your mind, try Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson
  • If you like mysteries involving an unusual or twisted serial killer, try Dark Winter by David Mark
  • If you like ambitious, well-written female protagonists trying to find a serial killer, try The Burning by Jane Casey (first in the Maeve Kerrigan series)

Book Trailer



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