Monday, May 20, 2013

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

About the Book
A time-travelling 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, leaving anachronistic clues on their bodies, until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back.
Throw together a crime-thriller, a time-travelling house and Lauren Beukes’ extreme talent for the macabre...

The Shining Girls had local publishers chomping at the bit for the opportunity to publish Lauren, the hotly contested bid among rabid-publishers ended in a healthy six-figure settlement, making Beukes South Africa’s biggest thing since Deon Meyer. I drooled over the first pages of this local fiction when publishers were given the ‘bidding packs were sent’ – I am still drooling over it. My collector’s edition arrived with much anticipation; I delved into the mind of a very original killer since Stephen King’s The Shining

Beukes serves on the deadliest of platters, a very different killer. Harper Curtis stumbles across a time-travelling house, one that whispers the names of girls who need to be killed; all that have a light that must be put out; girls filled to-brim with potential and light. The Shining Girls is science-fiction swirled with thriller, as Harper finds mementos from murders girls – that he is still-to murder – the house open its doors to different times, almost aiding Harper in his deeds. It isn’t until one victim survives, Kirby Mazrachi in 1989. Kirby is hell-bent on finding the man who savagely tried to kill her, with the help of Dan, a crime-beat journalist turned sport journalist who covered Kirby’s case.

I would usually sit and regale the murders, each of which are violent and gritty, but with time periods varying from the 20s to late 90s demanding to be known with a true sense of setting – one the reader can only sit in awe of Beukes. She has a knack for portraying strong women characters, Kirby, being one, is damaged, and drips in edgy humour and sarcasm.  

The Shining Girls becomes more than just a find-the-killer-thriller, but a cat and mouse hunt that acts in more reverse ways than one. With the thrill factor, ever-changing backdrops, and murders so foul, Beukes takes the reader on a ride from hell, only to be left with an ending as perplexing and incredibly creepy. Saying this, I have to submit that while the build-up, gripping tale of killer and murder, it’s the ending and twist that left me feeling like there was something more, something I’d missed out on – a clever set up, carried with talent and verve, poof, cut free. Needless to say, this is a book that needs to be read, not because she is a local talent, but because it’s a good read.

Get this. Be impressed. Local talent at its best.

(This was Exclusive Books's book of the month for May, follow my tag Boeke 2013 for more updates and reviews)

You can find my Boeke 2013 posts here
About the Author
Lauren Beukes is an award-winning novelist who also writes comics, screenplays, TV shows and occasionally journalism.  Her novel, Zoo City (2010) which the New York Times described as “an energetic phantasmagorical noir” won the Arthur C Clarke Award and the Kitschies Red Tentacle. She is also the author of Moxyland, a dystopian consumertopia thriller and a non-fiction, Maverick: Extraordinary Women From South Africa’s Past. Her new novel, The Shining Girls, about a time-travelling serial killer is due out in Spring 2013.
Find Author


I'm so not a blogger said...

I really enjoyed this book and while the ending was a bit creepy and 'full circle about to carry on' ish, I was a bit disappointed by it. Throughly good read!!

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