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The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls (edition 2014)

by Lauren Beukes (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,6961376,538 (3.55)152
"A time-traveling serial killer is impossible to trace-- until one of his victims survives. In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back. Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery"--Publisher's web site.… (more)
Title:The Shining Girls
Authors:Lauren Beukes (Author)
Collections:Your library, Read, Read but unowned, BDI, 2015
Tags:USA, serial killer, time travel, horror, science fiction

Work details

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

  1. 11
    NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: Well: Time-traveling serial killers powered by unexplained forces. You'll see the comparison in many reviews. NOS4A2's definitely worth checking out for genre fans. (The audiobook is read by Kate Mulgrew--Captain Janeway!--and comes highly recommended.)
  2. 00
    The Straw Men by Michael Marshall Smith (imyril)
  3. 00
    Watch Me Disappear by Jill Dawson (Anonymous user)

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» See also 152 mentions

English (134)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (137)
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
I'd give this a C. Way to reminiscent of Stephen King for my liking. Fairly well executed thriller but the fantasy hook is wasted on what amounts to a police procedural. ( )
  bulletproofheeb | Aug 12, 2019 |
What can I say? Totally gave me nightmares. ( )
  Seafox | Jul 24, 2019 |
This book grabs you by the throat and never lets you go from page one. Starting off in 1931 Chicago, Harper Curtis is a killer who murders a blind woman and takes her coat. He had killed someone else and injured his leg in the process of running away and needed to see a doctor. Luckily there's a five dollar bill in the coat and after laying low for a couple of days after murdering the blind woman he goes to the clinic and gets a cast put on his leg since his tendon is ripped and needs to heal and he's given a metal cane. Then he feels a calling to this rundown boarded-up house that when he enters is fixed up really nice inside. Upstairs is a room with the names of girls who "shine" and things that belong to them outlined on the wall. His mission was to kill them.

The next time he steps outside of the house it is 1988. Inside the house, he had found a suitcase full of money and betting slips so he took some money and used it. The money was in bundles according to date which he would find out later. The women live during different times but he can go no farther in the future than 1993 for reasons he has no idea about.

Kirby, one of the girls, survives the attack in 1989 because her dog saves her life. Harper leaves her to bleed out, but she gets help from a fisherman on the beach. When he checks up on her a few days later her overly dramatic mother tells him thinking he's the press that she's dead. Kirby had first met Harper when she was six and he gave her a toy horse. He took away the tennis ball she used to throw at her dog and left behind Willie Rose's lighter with the initials W.R. on it. Willie was an architect from the 1950s who was gay and worried about being pointed out a Red even though she wasn't a communist. She did have lofty ideas that she had shared with the wrong person at the firm in a world where they don't want a woman working there and will do anything to get rid of her. But they're not the ones she needs to worry about.

Kirby isn't taking surviving lying down. She's tried traveling and other things but nothing is working now she wants to go after the person who did this to her. She wants to find out who he is. So she goes back to school and gets an intern at the Sun-Times with Dan Velasquez who is the sports guy but once worked homicide and did the story on her, but he burned out and couldn't handle any more man's inhumanity to man and asked to be sent to sports. It cost him his marriage. Now it's 1991 and he's agreed to help steer her in the right direction in her research if she does her job as his intern and provides him with numbers and quotes.

Meanwhile, Harper is traveling back and forth in time enjoying his time in each time period and scoping out each victim killing some people that aren't on the list because they piss him off. Also, a drug addict from 1988 has discovered the inside of the house and robbed it, barely escaping before Harper returns. But nearly anyone who sees inside the house will see a dilapidated torn up house on the inside. It takes a special person to see the magical side of it. At some point, though, Harper will realize that Kirby is alive and he will be highly pissed and vindictive about ending her life. How can Kirby capture a man who travels through time? Dan is falling for her even though he doesn't want to and he is having a hard time believing the truth about Harper.

This book is amazing and very unique in its storyline of having a serial killer that is compelled to kill by a house throughout time some very special girls who "shine" with life and fierceness of spirit. These are strong women whose strength the house seems to want to sap. Kirby is a great character who is full of spunk and is sick of being a victim. She has lost her old friends due to the drifting apart that happens with these things and can't seem to make new friends because she is a freak to new people who want to help her or ogle her. Dan is a romantic who sees the beauty in things like baseball. I flew through this book in no time at all it was that good. I give it five out of five stars.


She punches him playfully in the arm, but hard, with her knuckle out, and he retatliates without really thinking about it, punching her back with about the same amount of force. Give as good as you get, his sisters taught him. They threw some mean punches. Also wrist burns. Wrestling him to the ground and pulling his hair. Affectionate violence. For when a hug just won’t do. That’s a Hallmark card for you

-Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls p 129)

Put dope and the devil up against each other in the ring, and dope will win out. Every single time.

-Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls p 180)

Worst of all—and this is how pathetic he’s become—pop songs make sense.

-Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls 231) ( )
  nicolewbrown | Apr 17, 2019 |
I really enjoyed this book. It was fun and entertaining and I didn't have to take it too seriously, which is exactly what I was looking for. I liked that I got to dip into different historical periods without slogging through 100 pages in each. I liked the concept of the shining girls and how each one was special in her own time and way. I liked that the serial killer wasn't especially clever or suave, he was just a creepy psycho. It was a good read.

Here was my only issue, and maybe someone can explain it to me:
In the Acknowledgements, the author makes a big deal out of researching everything and I totally believe it. But then there were dozens of instances of non-American word usage. I started making a list around page 150 because it was bothering me so much. I was reading the UK version, so it's possible much of that was edited out in the American version. But it seems to me the language (especially dialogue) should be consistent with the setting, not the audience or author. It just really pulled me out of the story.

NB - I understand and expect British spelling in a UK edition of an American-set book. But not word usage. It's like the difference between a BBC quoting an American "The colour of her tank top was blue." or "The colour of her vest was blue." which has a completely different meaning. ( )
  eraderneely | Feb 14, 2019 |
So I first tried this book a few months ago, read a few pages, and then put it back down. I'm not sure exactly why, whether the gruesomeness and gore was too much for me, or I found the book confusing, but it just didn't seem for me.

However, I had heard so much about this book, and so when I got a copy for free for volunteering at a charity book sale, I put it on my TBR shelf. When it fit a Popsugar Reading Challenge category for this year, I picked it up again.

It's hard to even describe the story, about a serial killer who can travel through time thanks to a mysterious house, who finds girls who "shine" and then tracks them down as women and brutally murders them, but the girl who survived who is now a woman is trying to solve the case of her past. The book is very nonlinear, which makes sense with the plot, but also made it harder for me to understand the plot.

I'm glad I did give this book another chance. I didn't love this book, but I did like it. The gruesomeness and gore were sometimes too much for me, and I'm still not sure I entirely understood everything, especially some of the end. But I did find myself staying up much later than intended to finish the book, unable to stop turning pages, so clearly the book was doing multiple things right. ( )
  seasonsoflove | Feb 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Beukes, Laurenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hayes, KeithCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Llewellyn, RobertCover photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neleman, HansCover photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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He clenches the orange plastic pony in the pocket of his sports coat.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description

"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 Mizrachi 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 onto 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.

Determine to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago 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.

Haiku summary
Back and forth in time
goes a serial killer.
One victim prevails.

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