Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes- e-book review

Lauren Beukes has a knack of painting mental pictures for her readers with startling word economy. In a line or two she creates ambience and theatre for her protagonists. In this book she single-handedly reinvents scary.  Readers will literally want to dive into the pages and save the characters. (before the possibility of their demise).
Some reviews I've read criticize the author for gory detail, but honestly, my view is that murder, especially serial murder, is violent and nasty. Don't read murder themed crime thrillers if you're squeamish.  Truthfully, I did not find any of the scenes gratuitous. 

The Shining Girls' is perfectly timed, a genuine page-tuner, and a tautly structured story. We are introduced to our main protagonists in the opening chapter. The victim who gets away, is accosted by the killer as a child. The menace is palpable throughout the scene, especially since the reader is allowed into the killers head, we are told he will be coming back to get her when she grows up. Curtis is a time traveler.  He is magicked into the ability after discovering a window that looks into time. The house, destiny leads him to, sees both the future and the past. He is intentionally kept very mysterious, and often given a monstrous caricature--for instance, when his jaw is wired together after being dislocated by a victim--he is all the more frightening because of it.
I love Lauren's writing, I adore the pace she sets and maintains. This story, for me anyway, pans out on two levels. Firstly we have the fictionalized concept of a serial killer given advantage and impetus by time travel. While on the other hand the story may offer the only rationale for the cruelty involved in snuffing the life out of innocent victims.... The perpetrator has to be insane or delusional. Read into it what you will, there's a lot more to this book than you might find in similar fare amongst this genre... But whatever you do don't miss it.

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