The Shining Girls: A Novel

The Shining Girls: A Novel

3.7 59
by Lauren Beukes
     
 

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THE GIRL WHO WOULDN'T DIE HUNTS THE KILLER WHO SHOULDN'T EXIST.

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 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

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Overview

THE GIRL WHO WOULDN'T DIE HUNTS THE KILLER WHO SHOULDN'T EXIST.

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 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 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.

Determined 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.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…[a] strong contender for the role of this summer's universal beach read. Ms. Beukes is a South African whose earlier works have been closer to hard-core science fiction, but The Shining Girls is pure thriller. The Irish writer Tana French, no slouch at transfixing and scaring readers, may have spoken for us all when she said of this expert hair-raiser: "It creeped the holy bejasus out of me."
Publishers Weekly
South African author Beukes, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Zoo City, adds an intriguing wrinkle to the serial killer suspense novel. In the creepy opening chapter, set in 1974, sadist Harper Curtis, who’s on the prowl for one of his “shining girls” (“bright young women burning with potential”), approaches six-year-old Kirby Mazrachi, as she plays alone. After an initially friendly exchange turns nasty, Harper promises that he will see Kirby when she’s grown up. In 1989, he keeps that promise by savagely attacking her. Miraculously, Mazrachi survives and leverages an internship with a Chicago newspaper into a private investigation of her assailant who can travel through time. The shifting perspectives require readers to stay alert, but those who do will be rewarded. Beukes is particularly good at garnering sympathy for Harper’s female victims, creating deep characterizations in only a few pages, so that they come across as more than just fodder for a psychopath’s mission. 5-city author tour. (June)
Tana French
"THE SHINING GIRLS is utterly original, beautifully written, and I must say, it creeped the holy bejasus out of me. This is something special."
Entertainment Weekly
"A grisly crime thriller meets sci-fi action meets historical fiction in a wildly inventive summer page-turner."
Chicago Sun-Times
"One of the scariest and best-written thrillers of the year, not to mention the most memorable portrait of a serial killer since Henry H. Holmes in....Erik Larson's 2003 nonfiction bestseller The Devil in the White City."
NPR.org
"A triumph ... [T]he smart and spunky Kirby Mizrachi is as exciting to follow as any in recent genre fiction ... [E]ach chapter in which [Harper] appears holds a reader's attention, especially the sharply described murder scenes - some of which read as much like starkly rendered battlefield deaths out of Homer as forensic reconstructions of terrible crimes ... This book means business."
USA Today
"[Beukes is] so profusely talented - capable of wit, darkness, and emotion on a single page - that a blockbuster seems inevitable....The Shining Girls marks her arrival as a major writer of popular fiction."
Time
"The premise is pure Stephen King, but Beukes gives it an intricate, lyrical treatment all her own."
Cory Doctorow
"A tremendous work of suspense fiction. What's more, it's a fabulous piece of both time-travel and serial killer fiction, using the intersection of those two themes to explore questions of free will, predestination, and causality in a mind-melting, heart-pounding mashup that delivers on its promise."
William Gibson
"Very smart...completely kick-ass. Beukes' handling of the joints between the realistic and the fantastic is masterful, and those are always my favorite parts, in this kind of story. Not the weirdness (which is itself superb here, and very ample) but the segue to it. The liminal instant."
Florida Times-Union
"A compelling roller coaster read."
Wired
"One of this summer's hottest books."
Gillian Flynn
"Intriguing...Beukes deals with slightly surreal things in very real ways. I'm all over it."
Joe Hill
Unreservedly recommended."
Wired.com
"One of the summer's hottest books."
Matt Haig
"I loved THE SHINING GIRLS. It really is a new kind of thriller, sitting somewhere between The Time Traveller's Wife and The Silence of The Lambs. A dark, relentless, time-twisting, page-turning murder story guaranteed to give you heart palpitations. It shines."
Cosmopolitan
PRAISE FOR LAUREN BEUKES:

"The world Beukes has invented is both eerily familiar and creepily different."

Deon Meyer
"THE SHINING GIRLS is enthralling and dazzlingly inventive. Lauren Beukes risks everything with a startlingly original structure, that's perfectly executed. A huge accomplishment."

Richard Kadrey
"Imagine Poe and Steinbeck in a knife fight where Poe wins and writes Jack the Ripper's version of The Grapes of Wrath. Lauren Beukes's THE SHINING GIRLS is even scarier than that."

on Moxyland Cosmopolitan
PRAISE FOR LAUREN BEUKES:

"The world Beukes has invented is both eerily familiar and creepily different."

on Moxyland GQ
"Intriguing characters and big ideas."
Jeff Vandermeer
"Beukes's energetic noir crackles with original ideas."
Paul Cornell
"Lauren Beukes is Jeff Noon crossed with Raymond Chandler."
GQ
"Intriguing characters and big ideas."
Kirkus Reviews
Beukes carries her experimentation in science fiction (Moxyland, 2010) and fantasy (Zoo City, 2010) to very dark corners as she follows a time-traveling serial killer who preys on young Chicago women from the 1930s until the 1990s. In 1974, a little girl named Kirby takes a toy pony from a strange man in his 30s named Harper. In 1931, Harper, a tramp no older or younger than in 1974, hears and follows mysterious music to a boarded-up tenement and opens the front door with a key he has found in the pocket of a coat he stole earlier that night. Inside the house, which is elegantly furnished, is a man's dead body. On the bedroom wall are the names of girls possessing a special glow that he must extinguish (and his first victim is a young showgirl with a literal glow about her from the radium she uses in her act). Each time Harper leaves his house, he can travel in time. He marks his victims first by giving them small gifts, then returns years later to kill them. And he returns again and again to 1931. Because of his ability to travel in and out of the 60-year time frame, he avoids suspicion. But there are glitches. In 1951, the transgendered showgirl he met in 1940 kills herself before he can kill her. In 1993, an artist turned crack addict has already lost her shine by the time he strikes. And Kirby, whom Harper assumes he has killed in 1989, has managed to survive. By 1993, when Harper's pace has sped up, Kirby is a student intern for attractive, middle-aged newspaper reporter Dan, who covered the story of her attack. Tracking her assailant, Kirby begins to suspect the bizarre nature of Harper's vicious killing spree. Despite thrillingly beautiful sentences, Beukes' considerable imaginative powers seem wasted in this shallow, often ugly game of cat and mouse tarted up with supernatural elements that do not bear too much scrutiny.
From the Publisher
"Intriguing...Beukes deals with slightly surreal things in very real ways. I'm all over it." — Gillian Flynn, O magazine"

A grisly crime thriller meets sci-fi action meets historical fiction in a wildly inventive summer page-turner." —Entertainment Weekly"

One of the scariest and best-written thrillers of the year, not to mention the most memorable portrait of a serial killer since Henry H. Holmes in....Erik Larson's 2003 nonfiction bestseller The Devil in the White City." —Chicago Sun-Times"

A triumph ... [T]he smart and spunky Kirby Mizrachi is as exciting to follow as any in recent genre fiction ... [E]ach chapter in which [Harper] appears holds a reader's attention, especially the sharply described murder scenes - some of which read as much like starkly rendered battlefield deaths out of Homer as forensic reconstructions of terrible crimes ... This book means business." —NPR.org"

[Beukes is] so profusely talented - capable of wit, darkness, and emotion on a single page - that a blockbuster seems inevitable....The Shining Girls marks her arrival as a major writer of popular fiction." —USA Today

Cory Docotorow
"A tremendous work of suspense fiction... a mind-melting, heart-pounding mashup that delivers on its promise."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316216852
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
06/04/2013
Pages:
375
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.18(h) x 1.25(d)

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What People are saying about this

Jeff Vandermeer
Beukes's energetic noir crackles with original ideas.
author of The Radleys - Matt Haig
I loved The Shining Girls. It really is a new kind of thriller, sitting somewhere between The Time Traveler's Wife and The Silence of the Lambs. A dark, relentless, time-twisting, page-turning murder story guaranteed to give you heart palpitations. It shines.
author of Broken Harbor - Tana French
The Shining Girls is utterly original, beautifully written, and I must say, it creeped the holy bejasus out of me. This is something special.
author of Homeland and Little Brother - Cory Doctorow
A tremendous work of suspense fiction...a mind-melting, heart-pounding mashup that delivers on its promise.
Paul Cornell
Lauren Beukes is Jeff Noon crossed with Raymond Chandler.
William Gibson
Lauren Beukes is very, *very* good.
Cory Doctorow
An extremely promising writer.
Deon Meyer
"THE SHINING GIRLS is enthralling and dazzlingly inventive. Lauren Beukes risks everything with a startlingly original structure, that's perfectly executed. A huge accomplishment.
author of Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
Very smart...completely kick-ass. Beukes' handling of the joints between the realistic and the fantastic is masterful, and those are always my favorite parts, in this kind of story. Not the weirdness (which is itself superb here, and very ample) but the segue to it. The liminal instant.
Richard Kadrey
"Imagine Poe and Steinbeck in a knife fight where Poe wins and writes Jack the Ripper's version of The Grapes of Wrath. Lauren Beukes's THE SHINING GIRLS is even scarier than that.

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Meet the Author

Lauren Beukes is the author of the acclaimed novelsMoxyland and Zoo City. She is a recipient of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, finished runner-up to Lev Grossman for the John W Campbell Award, was shortlisted for a plethora of other awards and received rave reviews from around the world including The New York Timesand The Guardian. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa with her husband and her daughter.

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The Shining Girls 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
DMDLED13 More than 1 year ago
I pre-ordered this book on my nook app earlier this summer before it came out. There was rave reviews before it came out so I was very excited to read it. It is not that the plot is bad, I do not like the style of writing. It was hard for me to keep track of the book. Each chapter went back to a different time. It went from the 1930's one chapter and then to the 70's and 90's. So when you have not read the book for a few days, you really have to recall what you read. I would constantly say "wait, who was that and when did it happen?" I actually have not finished the book. I stopped over halfway through and started a new book because I got fed up. But I may force myself to finish "The Shining Girls" because I want to know how it ends. That is why I am giving this book a mediocre review, I found it hard to keep track. Yet, overall the plot is interesting.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Master wordsmith and tight plotting make this an immensely satisfying read. I'm not a fan of the overly gruesome scenes, so I skimmed those. Despite the jumping around, it fits together seamlessly like the Escher stairs.
Lny11 More than 1 year ago
So glad I checked this book out! Such a good read! Very original! Loved that the author paid such good attention to detail! Also loved how she gave each character, no matter how brief their part in the story was, some depth so they aren't so expendable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that is not easy to put down. From the moment you start reading, you are sucked into the story and wondering how things will turn out. The homeliness does jump quite a bit, but it's pretty easy to follow. I would have given this five stars if the ending was different. The book just sort of ended, I certainly had questions that went unanswered and felt that it didn't tie things up enough. That said, I'm not sure how the ending could have been written to answer every question and tie up every loose end. I'm still thinking about this book 3 weeks after finishing it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent read with a very different twist.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Brenda Ballard for Readers' Favorite The Shining Girls: A Novel by Lauren Beukes is something for the iron gut, thrill-seeking reader. Harper Curtis is one sick dude whose actions are propelled by the call of The House. It is not just any house. This one enables him to time travel, which really helps when you don't want to be found. A serial killer who finds his prey young then springs forward to snuff them out at an older age; it is the perfect getaway. Who would believe it, anyway? His marks are many and his calling card unique. An item from the future left next to their dead bodies means nothing to detectives and goes unnoticed until somebody discovers the pattern. She is the only survivor of his throat slashing habit and quite intent on finding the man who nearly murdered her. Kirby Mazrachi has enough problems without this guy, but somehow she manages to get through high school, enroll in college, and intern at the Chicago-Sun Times newspaper. She requests to assist former homicide writer Dan Velasquez, who also just happens to have covered her story. What lies ahead for all involved will be something that nobody could see coming.  Lauren Beukes takes her readers to a very deep, dark place in the mind of a serial killer. The Shining Girls: A Novel is nowhere near okay for the faint of heart. It is gruesome, graphic, horrific, and gut wrenching. It is a thriller..the kind that causes you to forever lock the door behind you and close the blinds at dusk. If this is what you are into, you will not be disappointed!
NatyP84 More than 1 year ago
Slow pick up.. But once you start to connect the dots it's a great read. I wouldn't recommend for Young adults or children! Over all a great, twisted, cat and mouse tale filled with mystery, murder and time travel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't question how it happens, but a serial killer finds a way to travel through time and find victims when they are young girls and then find them once they have grown and kill them in disgusting ways. But one of the girls who "shine" lives and turns the tables on the killer. A fast paced and fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most different yet intrigueing books that I have read. It is somewhat of a challenge to read and can be easily confused, but in the end I generally enjoyed the book. I wasn't as satisfied with the ending...I just wanted to know what happens next? ...but I think the book would make a phenominal movie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first read the description of Shining Girls, I was worried. Any time I see anything with the words time traveling, I suspect too much silly and not enough substance. Not so with this book. Beukes creates intimate interactions between the main character, her murderer and her would be mentor. Beyond that, I was additionally intrigued by each of the Shining Girls, however brief our time together, and the eras they each embraced within themselves. Though the ending was unexpected, after considering it, it was a fitting beginning to the closing of a loop.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and immensely entertaining. I couldn't put it down once I got into it. You travel through time with the characters and despite jumping around I did not find it hard to follow at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I heard an interview with Lauren Beukes on NPR upon the release of this novel and I was immediately interested.  I loved the transition between eras and all of the little snapshots we see of peculiar or incredible pieces of history through each of the "Shining Girls".  It reads like historical fiction, yet has components of horror, contemporary and science fiction.  Love, love, loved it!
JEdoubleS More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was pretty terrible. It jumps around too much, nothing about it felt original. Standard demented serial killer, the main girl in the story could easily be described as Lisbeth Salander from the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. It took me over a week to finish this one (normal read time is around 2 to 3 days) and it was grueling the entire time. I would never suggest this book to anyone. I may have been spoiled by Stephen King's book - 11/22/63 when it comes to time travel novels, but I feel like I can honestly say this book has nothing original going for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow start, picked up, then got confusing....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Theres some one else on res on if you see this message back ~ rob
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Couldn't put it down
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This read is interesting in several ways. The main character travels in time to commit and cover up the gruesome murders of women he had met in their childhood. The House calls to him, enticing him with the need to kill. Was a tad bit more gruesome then I like to read about. It will leave you wondering in the end. All in all interesting fanciful read.
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