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on 31 March 2017
Kirby Mazrachi survives a brutal attack and tries to hunt down her would-be murderer. Clues that it could be the work of a serial killer start to surface, except that the timelines of the other murders don't quite match up. Lauren Beukes reveals the reason and identity of the killer quite early on in this thriller, but that doesn't make this novel any less suspenseful as she leads the reader in Kirby's literal fight against time to apprehend the murderer as the events unfold in a non-sequential manner.

Beukes's writing is graphic, and the gruesome scenes are spine-chilling, but she is a notch above the usual writers of the genre with her literary style. Of course, that she blends SF in so seamlessly with her realist storytellling edges her out of the field in a spectacular way. The alternating narratives that feature Kirby and her killer also flesh out the motivations behind each character and his/her respective back story. Here, Beukes seems to be relying on tried and tested traits, like the influence of missing or failed father figures, impoverished backgrounds, and the failure of intimacy, to explain (away) deviant behaviours.

Nonetheless, the story grips you from start to finish and there is no let up. A riveting read.
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on 10 August 2017
There are different ways to think about The Shining Girls. There’s a killer called Harper in the 1920s, and he stumbles on a house that manipulates him and sends him forward through time to murder girls throughout the twentieth century who seem to shine, because he always has and always will, and his connection to that house is more intimate than he could guess but also incredibly perplexing, and somewhere in the eighties there’s the girl who survives and starts to hunt him while fulfilling an internship at a newspaper, and…and…

So yeah, you can think too hard about it, and miss the point. Or you can pay little attention too it, and wind up incredibly confused. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. The time travel works if you pay attention, but it’s ultimately just a garnish, seasoning a spectacular blend of murder and obsession that pays off in all sorts of ways. The period detail is engrossing, the characters - particularly Harper’s victims - are as rich as any supporting characters I’ve read, and the staggered chronology of the book is a clever, clever way to play with the pace and tension. Mostly, it’s a bloody good mystery, and while not all of the questions you have are going to be answered (Beukes is more interested in her characters than the weird hole in the universe that the house represents), it’s a marvellous ride.
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on 26 March 2017
I am a sucker for time travel stories and I also like some crime mysteries such as Harry Bosch, Inspector Banks, Peter Lovesey, etc.
This was a good mix for me. I was fully drawn into the story of the time travelling serial killer. Perhaps the ending could have been different - maybe managing to prevent one of the murders in 1993. I did like the time loops as related to the House and the way that the characters became introduced to it.
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on 17 April 2017
I couldn't get into this book. It was a book club choice. It's a gruesome subject affected by time travel. It's been hard work reading and after 300 pages I can't raise the enthusiasm to read any more. a "marmite" story
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on 20 May 2017
A good twist on the genre, but it never really excited me. Great prose and characters, but there are better serial killer thrillers out there.
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on 16 July 2013
Very intense and gripping . Enjoy is the wrong word as the novel totally absorbs you and I couldn't wait to read the next page. Excellent .
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on 11 June 2017
Couldn't get past the first chapter
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It is good.
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on 4 August 2013
Better than Zoo City. I heard Lauren interviewed on the radio recently and didn't feel I liked or admired her much. This book is great. Zoo City is also good, this is better. Her imagination really shows through on the page.
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on 9 July 2016
Good idea gone wrong.
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