The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes

Published September 29, 2013 by bibliobeth


What’s it all about?:

The girl who wouldn’t die, hunting a killer who shouldn’t exist…

A terrifying and original serial-killer thriller from award-winning author, Lauren Beukes.

1930’s America: Harper Curtis is a delusional, violent drifter who stumbles on a house that opens onto other times.

Driven by visions, he begins a killing spree over the next 60 years, using an undetectable MO and leaving anachronistic clues on his victims’ bodies.

But when one of his intended ‘shining girls’, Kirby Mazrachi, survives a brutal stabbing, she becomes determined to unravel the mystery behind her would-be killer. While the authorities are trying to discredit her, Kirby is getting closer to the truth, as Harper returns again and again…

What did I think?:

This is the first novel showcased on Richard and Judy’s Autumn Book club this year and I was eager to read it after seeing a lot of publicity posters for it around Tube stations in London. The first thing that struck me whilst reading was how original and unique the story felt, and how much focus was placed on the serial killer as an ordinary (yet obviously very sadistic and warped) human being – which actually made him scarier in my opinion! Lauren Beukes has set up her villain of the piece, Harper Curtis as someone who seems unstoppable, perpetuating his terrible crimes by travelling through time from 1930’s Chicago at the heart of the Depression to the present day almost sixty years later in the nineties. He is assisted in his travels by a special House which appears to be built especially for his purposes and allows him to travel through decades. Within the House is also a special room which has a list of girls that “shine,” and whom he is obligated to kill and leave a memento from the previous victim, confounding all who try to track him down. He’s the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.

Kirby is an extraordinary character who manages to get help after being attacked by (deep breath everyone) holding her intestines in, resolute and refusing to die. Warning: the murders are incredibly gruesome and not for the weaker stomachs amongst us! By some miracle, Kirby manages to survive, and instead of wallowing in self pity or living her life in fear, she becomes determined to track down her killer and make him pay for what he did to her. So, the hunter becomes the hunted, and the author drags the reader kicking and screaming, but horribly intrigued, all the way to the end. This was a brilliant and fascinating new take on the serial killer genre, and there are some parts I won’t forget in a hurry. Lauren Beukes is a talented author who certainly knows how to write a compelling story – I literally could not put this book down. I can’t wait to see what she’s going to give us next.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


2 comments on “The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes

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