Harper Curtis is a serial killer outside the boundaries of time. Kirby Mazrachi is the last of his “shining girls” – and she was meant to die.

The Shining Girls book review

The Shining Girls brings a clever twist to the classic serial killer narrative – adding a sinister time-travel angle to this tumbling, fast-paced tale where the hunter becomes the hunted.

After discovering a run-down house in depression-era Chicago that can open onto other times, Harper Curtis finds himself drawn to his “Shining Girls”: enigmatic women from decades spanning the 1930s to 1990s – whose energy and vitality he tracks down to kill.

South African author Lauren Beukes effortlessly weaves her characters through different decades, making time travel seem eerily plausible without veering into sci-fi explanations.

Having heard about the more gruesome elements of the book, the violent murder scenes (although undoubtedly chilling) seemed at first brief and contained. However, as Harper’s manic, determined pursuit gathers pace, the brutality and graphic detail of his killings does too, leading to some shudder-inducing reading moments.

Clever, chilling and sinister – The Shining Girls is well-worth adding to your reading list this summer.

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