Time traveling serial killer

The Shining Girls - Lauren Beukes



This story moves through time from the 1930's through the 1990's, not in a straight line, but jumping from time to time. The killer (Harper) lives in the 1930's and he finds a house with special powers. When Harper leaves the house, he enters different years. Inside the house, Harper finds a list of names and a trophy for each one. Harper goes through time, finds the women and kills them. Kirby is one of those women, but she survives his attempt to kill her. She is determined to find her killer and believes he has tried to kill other women. She becomes an intern at a newspaper and works with the reporter who originally covered her story (Dan). He tries to help her find out the truth.


Harper is ruthless and psychotic. When he first finds the house, the trophies and the names are already there, written in his own handwriting. He is on a mission and working to satisfy the demands of the house. He knows that if he kills all of the women, the house will let him rest.


Kirby is a strong young woman, all of the women he kills are. They each have strong beliefs and work hard for what they believe in - helping women who are need of abortions before they were legal; a single black woman (before civil rights) working hard in a factory to support her family; a woman who fought hard to get a job in an all male architectural firm (before women's rights).... 


The descriptions of the killings were fairly graphic - not for the squeamish. And the tension in the story was palpable. When I was reading about the women, walking home alone or Harper talking to them, I kept thinking - don't talk to him, run away... It was like watching a horror movie and telling the characters not to open the door or go down in the basement or whatever. I knew the women were in trouble, but I couldn't look away.


I was routing for Kirby and Dan all the way. I wanted her to figure the whole thing out and I wanted her to win. I also wanted her to reciprocate Dan's feeling for her. He was a very likable character, and quite protective of Kirby. But when she starts trying to put together murders from different decades, it is hard for anyone to believe her. She even starts thinking she is crazy.


I loved everything about this book, the story, the characters, the house, the supernaturalness of it. And the way everything tied together. The time travel thing is difficult to wrap your mind around sometimes, like how is something already there when it didn't happen yet. And I had to check the chapter titles a few times to remember which decade I was in at the moment. But it was way worth it!


Recommended to:

Fans of Stephen King, serial killer stories, time traveling, and thrillers will enjoy this book.