Tina Jordan
May 24, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Shining Girls

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Lauren Beukes
publisher
Mulholland Books
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

Science fiction and psychological thriller collide spectacularly in this heart-thumping tale of a time-traveling serial killer, a drifter in 1930s Chicago named Harper who stumbles into an abandoned house, where he finds women’s names — ”the shining girls,” he calls them — scrawled on walls in his own handwriting. The house, it turns out, is a portal, allowing him to slip silently through the decades, stalking and killing all the girls. All except one, that is. Kirby Mazrachi doesn’t just survive the attempted murder, she begins to stalk Harper back. The resulting story line, creepy and unsettling, is diminished by only one thing: Beukes’ failure to explain how the time travel actually works in The Shining Girls. Maybe I don’t read enough science fiction, but there was a real disconnect for me when Harper simply popped up in different eras. B

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