The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
The girl who wouldn't die, hunting a killer who shouldn't exist.
Chicago 1931. Harper Curtis, a violent drifter, stumbles on a house with a secret as shocking as his own twisted nature - it opens onto other times. He uses it to stalk his carefully chosen 'shining girls' through the decades - and cut the spark out of them. He's the perfect killer. Unstoppable. Untraceable. He thinks…
Chicago, 1992. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Tell that to Kirby Mazrachi, whose life was shattered after a brutal attempt to murder her. Still struggling to find her attacker, her only ally is Dan, an ex-homicide reporter who covered her case and now might be falling in love with her. As Kirby investigates, she finds the other girls - the ones who didn't make it. The evidence is… impossible. But for a girl who should be dead, impossible doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Lauren Beukes's new book, The Shining Girls, can at times be a harrowing read, but because of the way it has been written you are compelled to get to the end. How it ends I am not going to spoil. The book focuses on two main characters, Kirby and Harper, who are hunted and hunter and most chapters are told from one or the other’s perspective. Although these are not the only voices you hear throughout the book.
There is a theme of destiny and predetermination that runs through the book. The fantastical aspect in this book is a house that allows Harper to move through time to kill what he calls The Shining Girls. The focus on violence against women can be grim at points as the book focuses on one man’s hatred towards women. We can ask the usual questions, does he use violence against women as a way to feel powerful? Although if I found a house that could take me to another time, I probably would find a better use for it such as a Back to the Future - betting on market futures - but that would be a different book entirely.
What are Shining Girls? My interpretation is that these are women that have the potential to help humanity forward even if it is in a way that some people could find was insignificant. Lauren Beukes has managed to give these women a voice beyond the page, where their lives are whole, they are not portrayed as victims but strong women from different circumstances who want to live. This brings us to the significance of Kirby, who is an independent streetwise kid, who is inquisitive, but also on Harper’s list. She is strong, determined and a survivor who wants the truth even if it’s unbelievable.
There are so many questions which lead you into dark places including: How does someone make the decision to kill people? Can a first kill be an accident? Does violence always escalate? Lauren Beukes has turned the gritty fantastic in a well thought out story set against the backdrop of Chicago through the ages. If you do not like realistic violence, you may not want to read this as the book is not for the faint-hearted but if you do read this you will be rewarded by being taken on a journey, where you are left guessing at the ending until the very last page!
This The Shining Girls book review was written by Michelle Herbert
Have you read The Shining Girls?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Shining Girls reader reviews
9.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
John Cleaver series
I Am Not A Serial Killer is the story of John Cleaver, a 15-year-old sociopath who works in a mortuary, dreams about death, and thinks he might be turning into a serial kil...
Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the...
Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be ...
Some doors are better left closed... In Barrington House, an upmarket block in London, there is an empty apartment. No one goes in, no one comes out. And it’s been th...
Cinema of Shadows
Welcome to the Woodfield Movie Palace. The night the Titanic sank, it opened for business... and its builder died in his chair. In the 1950s, there was a fire; a balcony fu...
The Pilo Family Circus
You have two days to pass your audition. You better pass it, feller. You’re joining the circus. Ain’t that the best news you ever got? Delivered by a trio of ps...
Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions...
After the ruins of a vast, ancient civilization are discovered on the ocean floor, Coast Guard officers find a series of derelict ships drifting in the current-high-priced ...
The Temple of the Last Days. The brutal cult with a history of murder, sex and occult dealings destroyed itself during one night of ritualistic violence decades ago. Or so ...
Inside Out is the story of Denton, a down-and-out no-hoper who lives with his mother and hits rock bottom one day during a road-rage incident. What should be the lowest mom...
Devourer of Souls
Welcome to Clifton Heights, an average Adirondack town. It's nice enough, really. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you're all alone... Sophan. An anci...
Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth
Respected horror anthologist Stephen Jones edits this collection of 17 stories inspired by the 20th century’s master of horror, H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shad...
Black Wings of Cthulhu 4
Through his collaborations with today's most talented and acclaimed practitioners of Lovecraftian fiction, editor S. T. Joshi has made the Black Wings of Cthulhu series...
Under the Dome
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force fi...
House of Small Shadows
Catherine’s last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top television production company saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get he...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended contemporary / urban fantasy books/series
- Recommended books/series featuring angels and demons
Best of 2016
Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spe...
Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves. Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the ...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world. Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As the memories of her old life continue to haunt, she...
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her al...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...