Tuesday, July 16, 2013

" A serial killer with time-traveling ability? That can't be good!" ~ Hank


The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own."

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.

At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He's the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.

Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . .

The Shining Girls is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

Hank says:
"Harper Curtis is on a curious and disturbing mission to eliminate young women of exceptional promise, who 'shine,' in his warped estimation. Like most creepy psychos, he had a troublesome childhood, but his motivation seems to arise more from his association with the House, a Depression-era structure which provides the mechanism for crossing the decades. Harper has a specific list of victims to work from, all unknown to him, but scrawled on a wall of the House in his own handwriting. Spelling apparently does not count, and I think we can attribute the list's origin to the workings of the House. 
Of the names on the list, we first meet Kirby Mazrachi as a little girl. Her initial encounter with Harper is mutually disconcerting. He offers her a toy pony, which she scornfully rejects, and we later find out that he likes to give his victims tokens, which he then retrieves and leaves at unrelated crime scenes. The apparent randomness of it all makes it impossible for police over the years even to realize that they are dealing with a serial killer, let alone track him down. After barely surviving Harper's attempt on her life, this responsibility falls to Kirby herself. She has gotten a job as a reporter, and with the help of a (mostly) sympathetic boss, begins to piece together the unsolved cases. Of course, Harper can't have that, and as he continues to check off his list, in addition to defending the House against a couple of unexpected intruders, Kirby is never far from his mind. 
This crime novel with 'A Little Something Extra' reminds me of Stephen M. Irwin's The Broken Ones, a largely overlooked book I tried to draw attention to, without success. The Shining Girls, happily, seems to be getting some word-of-mouth from other sources."

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