Does it count if I learned about this book specifically because I was doing a search on NoveList in order to fulfill this challenge point? And does it still count if I didn’t so much learn about this book but was rather reminded of its existence because of this challenge?
Why am I asking when I’ve already decided that it does?
I knew of this one, of course. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes was published back in 2013, where it kept coming up on a lot of readalike lists and blogs, and was quite well-reviewed.
It’s a really great readalike for Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad) in terms of literary style. Great turns of phrase, beautiful descriptions (even in the goriest places), and a lyrical style really elevate this thriller.
As does the intriguingly original plot: in 1931, Harper Curtis finds a time-travel portal in a nondescript Chicago house. He also finds the names of women scrawled on the wall in an upstairs room–in his own handwriting. From there Harper feels compelled by destiny to find each of these women wherever they are in time, and murder them.
(Aside: My husband made a good point: does it really count as a serial killer if the murders are non-linear? Something to ponder.)
But Kirby, a young woman attacked in the early 1990’s, survives. And she sets out to find the killer, using her internship at a Chicago newspaper to hunt for clues.
Chicago is practically a character in this novel, so great is the sense of place in every time period. Though the snapshots are sometimes brief, Beukes still manages to create a perfect sense of time and location with three-dimensional characters. The feel of The Shining Girls is gritty and realistic, even with the sci-fi elements.
If you stay alert for the intricate plotting and shifting perspectives, you’ll be rewarded with an immersive, compelling, sometimes disturbing blend of thriller and crime.