The Shining Girls

The Shining Girls

Book - 2013 | 1st ed.
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A masterful twist on the serial killer novel from the award-winning author Lauren Beukes: the girl who wouldn't die hunts the killer who shouldn't exist.

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 these shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He's the ultimate hunter, vanishing without a trace into another time after each murder--until one of his victims survives.

Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on an impossible truth . . .

Publisher: New York : Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company, 2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780316216852
Characteristics: 375 p. ; 25 cm.


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JCLSamS Jul 12, 2018

I found this book fascinating! A serial killer jumps through time, pursuing pre-destined victims that he knows he must kill. In present day, the one woman that managed to escape him is determined to find him and solve her own near-murder. The clues that she picks up lead her to believe in something impossible. I loved the time-travel aspect, especially as the story touches in many different and interesting eras of America's past. Some of the plot elements seemed a bit cheesy, and I could understand some complaints about the ending, but I overall really enjoyed it.

JohnK_KCMO Dec 26, 2017

A serial killer who travels through time. A young woman - smart, sarcastic, punk - who survived his attack. Vivid snapshots of Chicago through the 20th century. There's a lot going on in this novel but it all works brilliantly. Beukes' prose and taut pacing meant I couldn't put this one down. Highly recommended for fans of murder mysteries, SF, historical fiction, and strong leading women.

LPL_EliH Jul 01, 2017

The Shining Girls has something for everyone-- thoroughly-researched oddities and asides for the historical fiction lovers, suspense and twists for the mystery readers, action and adventure, and at the heart of it all lies a gooey, irresistible magical realism core. The writing is snappy, albeit at times a bit too clever, but enjoyable. The characters could use some work, but they don't keep the excellent premise of a time traveling serial killer from shining bright.

For fans of both time travel stories and historical fiction, this is a great read! I really enjoyed all of the small details about each of Harper's victims and the grotesque nature of their deaths is contrasted beautifully with their vibrant lives. My recommendation: don't skip the author's note in the end.


Mar 12, 2016

This book had a strong female protagonist, but the time travel mechanism seemed a bit silly to me. The character development was rather good though.

Sep 10, 2015

Forgettable story about a serial killer committing crimes by traveling through time portals - I know a rather unusual idea for a book. Besides that the chapters are written by going back and forth through time periods and the main characters all of which can get rather confusing. Nothing but a waste of time here.

Jun 06, 2015

To start off, whoever categorized this as SF clearly didn't pay much attention when reading the synopsis. This book is solidly in the "Supernatural Serial Killer" horror genre. Peter Straub, Stephen King et al. have exhausted all the tropes used in this book, including the central one of "sinister house with special powers".
The author has done some research into Chicago history and used it to flesh out her otherwise derivative story, and gratuitously updated the Straub/King style with contemporary levels of gore and brutality. Unlike her predecessors, she has chosen to paint her main characters in the broadest of stereotypical strokes, limiting any involvement on the part of the reader. Predictable at every turn of the plot, this book is probably a big hit only in Chicago, where some independent filmmaker is probably already lining up corporate sponsors and tax breaks.

KateHillier May 28, 2015

Great concept more than a great book, I think. Time travelling serial killer who is set to kill certain girls who 'shine' and one girl survives and makes it her job to track down her would be murder. Very interesting book concept but I found myself flipping through pages a bit quicker than normal. Could be because I read her next novel "Broken Monsters" first and I much preferred that one.

bubbagtr Mar 23, 2015

Very cool book, good read. Somewhat confusing, sad but also gripping with characters that get under your skin. The last 20 or 30 pages u're rooting hard, cinematic in scope, like you can see the movie playing out on the screen. Definitely worth checking out.

Dec 18, 2014

This was one of my favorite books of 2013. I got it for Christmas and couldn't put it down!

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Jun 07, 2014

blue_horse_1254 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 10


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