Early Review – The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Posted May 7, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 / 19 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesThe Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Published by Mulholland Books on June 4th 2013
Pages: 384
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Time Travel
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Broken Monsters, Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing


The girl who wouldn’t die. Hunting a killer who shouldn’t exist.

Chicago 1931. Violent drifter Harper Curtis stumbles upon a house that hides a secret as shocking as his own twisted nature: it opens onto other times.

Harper uses it to stalk his ‘shining girls’ across decades – and cut the fire out of them.

He’s the perfect killer. Unstoppable. Untraceable. Until one of his victims survives and turns the hunt around.

Chicago, 1992. Kirby Mazrachi’s determination to find the man who tried to kill her has taken over her life.

The cops no longer return her calls. Her mother copes by writing morbid children’s books. Her only ally is Dan, the burnt-out ex-homicide reporter who covered her case.

As Kirby closes in on her would-be killer, what she finds is ... impossible. Murders scattered across the decades along with evidence that makes no sense. Meanwhile, Harper is closing in on her, too.

‘Everything happens for a reason. He should be grateful. It’s because he is forced to leave that he finds the House. It is because he took the coat that he has the key.’

Harper stalks his Shining Girls through time and the House helps him. He visits the girls when they are children, takes mementos from them and tells them he’ll be back for them when it’s time. When that time comes, he leaves their bodies with a new memento, one taken from a different Shining Girl. His goal is to kill them all, all who Shine, and his mission is complete. Except one survived. And now she’s the one looking for him.

The writing style is extremely explicit. The murders are terribly graphic and incredibly detailed so if you can’t stomach ‘Dexter’ you’re definitely not going to be able to manage this one. I have quite the stomach for gruesome tales but even this one came close to pushing my boundaries. Added to the gruesome details is the heartbreaking bits. There’s this one scene in particular where one of the women is trying to stop the killer and in the process is telling him about her kids and how she has to be there for them because they’re going to be waking up soon… I’m not much of a softie for sad times but even that got to me pretty bad. Plus, I think it should be mentioned there’s also a gruesome scene involving a dog that may or may not have caused a tear or two.

‘He only has to think of a time and it will open onto it, although he can’t always tell if his thoughts are his own or if the House is deciding for him.’

Much like what karen says in her review of The Shining Girls, this book reminds me very much of Life After Life despite it’s obvious differences. Life After Life isn’t technically time-travel but the transitions through time are quite similar, also both novels lack the scientific backing to support the time-traveling, it’s either believable or it’s not. Both novels had similar writing styles with bouncing back and forth to different times. It shouldn’t make sense and it should be terribly confusing and hard to follow but somehow it manages to make complete and utter sense. Lauren Beukes writes with such confidence though that it really leaves no room for questioning. I never had a doubt.

‘It’s the same tug in his stomach that brought him to the House. That jolt of recognition when he walks into someplace he’s meant to be. He knows it when he sees the tokens that match the ones in the room. It is a game. It’s a destiny he’s writing for them. Inevitably, they’re waiting for him.’

This book blew my mind. I finished it late one night and ended up unable to fall asleep because I simply could not stop thinking about it. There were a few questions that went unanswered that I wish had been but my overall opinion of the book remained bright and shiny. (ha, pun intended) The two things I had issue with her major spoilers but I had to include them. Please do not click if you have any intention of reading this!
View Spoiler »
View Spoiler »

The Shining Girls is a horrid and nightmarish tale but so completely intense and unforgettable that it’s certain to leave a lasting impression. It’s a story possessing such vehemence you practically need a good, strong drink to aid you through it. In honor of the drink the House never failed to provide I recommend a whisky straight-up, no ice.


19 responses to “Early Review – The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

  1. veganyanerds

    This sounds quite chilling and compelling but I'll have to skip it due to the scene involving the dog :/

    Great review, Bon!
    My recent post How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington

  2. Wow, I can't wait to read this after reading your review, Bonnie! Thanks so much for putting this on my radar–I hadn't heard of it at all, but you've gotten me super excited. 🙂
    My recent post The 5th Wave: review and giveaway

  3. courtneyreadsalot

    Wow! This sounds intense and gruesome and right up my alley. Is that weird? 😛 I definitely want to check this out. I had never even heard of this book before I stopped by your blog so thanks for the recommendation! Great review! 😀

  4. Wow this sounds really amazing and totally unique. (And sometimes unique is hard to find these days!) Also, I LOVE the cover!
    My recent post Waiting on Wednesday (#20): City of Lost Dreams

  5. Maja

    We are all more than a little desensitized, so if this turned YOUR stomach, i don't know how well I'd handle it, but I'm curious to find out. I am also curious about the authors confidence you mention. It's probably fabulous to read.
    Lovely review, Bonnie!

  6. I hadn't heard of this one before, but your enthusiasm plus the Time Traveler's Wife meets Girl With the Dragon Tattoo pitch is making me SUPER excited to read this! I love when a book holds me captive and I have to stay up all night finishing it, so I'm thrilled to hear this book kept you up. It sounds like the author has a really commanding voice, which is so important when they're throwing in time travel and you need to majorly suspend disbelief. I'm definitely going to check this out. Thanks for putting it on my radar! Wonderful review Bonnie 🙂
    My recent post Sirens by Janet Fox: Blog Tour + Giveaway

  7. miss_bonnie13

    I also love this cover! It's actually a new cover, the original one had a bright red border but I prefer this one so much more.

  8. miss_bonnie13

    Not at all! I think that's exactly what I said when I first read the summary. 😀 Hope you enjoy it when you get around to it!

  9. miss_bonnie13

    Thanks so much, Lauren! I wasn't expecting to like this one nearly as much as I did. Hope you enjoy it when you do read!!

  10. miss_bonnie13

    hahaha… Yeah, I have quite the stomach of steel but this one had some doozy-type moments. Thanks, Maja! 🙂

  11. miss_bonnie13

    Yeah, I'm not sure if that's the for real cover or not though. When I posted my review this was the cover for the Kindle version (according to Amazon) but now it's back to the Red border. Either way, this is my favorite.

  12. Wow, where the heck have I been? This sounds AMAZING. I have a high capacity for graphic descriptions and intense things in books so I think this won't be too bad for me. I can't wait to check this one out. I hope I can read it in one sitting, too:)
    My recent post Book Event Recap: R.L. LaFevers at Third Place Books (+ Giveaway)

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