I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Published by Hachette, Hachette Audio, Mullholland Books on June 4, 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Crime, Historical, Historical Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Time Travel Mystery/Thriller
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THE 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 theChicago 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.
Kirby Mazrachi is the one victim of time traveling serial killer Harper Curtis who survived his brutal attack. With the help of a seemingly run down house on the South Side of Chicago that will open up onto different times in the past and present, Kirby is just one of many “Shining Girls” that somehow glow brightly to Harper. That’s how the house let’s him know who his victims will be. So Harper hops through time, introducing himself into the girls’ life when they’re young and then returning to kill them when they’re older. That is until Kirby survives and everything starts to unravel when she starts to hunt him down with the help of a ex-crime reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times.
I loved a lot about The Shining Girls. Kirby was a strong character, a real survivor. Not only did she survive her brutal attack by Harper, but she didn’t give up when the cops would no longer investigate, when no one else would believe her or help her in her pursuit to find her killer. She’s smart, head strong, and quite determined, but she’s also funny and vulnerable. She certainly wasn’t afraid to be a girl in the male dominated field of sports reporting to work with the reporter who covered her attack when it had happened several years before.
Harper Curtis is one hell of a ruthless, sadistic, and heartless villain. He knows that he’s evil, and he enjoys every bit of being a serial killer. You get a little back story for him before he comes across the time travel house, but it’s only a glimpse of why he’s such a horrible guy. There’s no sympathizing with this villain–he’s just the sadistic devil incarnate. But you never really know why Harper wants to kill other than that the house has given him a list of girls to eliminate, and he just goes along because he wants to.
Told in alternating point of view chapters that go back and forth in time, you get an in-depth look at serial killer Harper’s movements as he stalks and kills his victims. Often detailed and gory, the crimes he commits throughout different time periods are violent and unrelenting in their depravity. As Kirby traces different murders with the same patterns and connects them together in the early 1990s, she gets increasingly close to learning who tried to kill her. And she doesn’t know just how dangerous that person is because he can seemingly disappear off the face of the earth when he walks into that decrepit house.
I give The Shining Girls a four out of five. The writing is excellent, has a nice flow and great pacing. Even with around five different points of view throughout the book, the dialogue is distinct for each character. While the writing was sound, the why’s of the time-traveling house were not explained. I’m a scientist and I always love to see how authors explain those kinds of things in their books, and the time travel aspect wasn’t even explored. It was just there and an accepted part of the story. Most of the secondary characters were a little flat and underdeveloped since you never really see them outside of when Harper kills them, and especially in comparison to Kirby’s part in the book. Also, the ending was a bit open ended. Overall, this was a great book to listen to, especially if you’re a fan of hearing both the good and evil sides to the story.
I listened to the audiobook provided by Hachette Audio
Get your own Audiobook at Audible: The Shining Girls.
There were six excellent narrators for the edition of The Shining Girls that I listened to for 10 hours and 6 minutes. Having so many wonderful voice actors made this book much less confusing and enjoyable, but I had to make sure that I paid close attention to the date and character name read at the beginning of each chapter so I wouldn’t be lost as to the time frame and point of view character that the chapter would focus on.