Books of 2015, #7: The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes

I actually bought The Shining Girls last year, but for some reason my initial sampling of it didn’t hook me, so I put it aside and forgot about it until the JoCo Cruise this year when something else (which I won’t name) proved too awful to continue. Since I was on a boat in the middle of the ocean, my options were limited to what I had on the Kindle app of my iPad, and so I took another run at The Shining Girls.

I’m glad I did. It’s not great literature by any stretch, but it’s definitely inventive and definitely well crafted. I don’t want to give too much away — it’s very much an Idea book — but the gist is that there exists a sociopath who happens upon a house that allows him to travel through time, and that seems to compel him to seek out and viciously kill certain young women. Working against him in this is the inevitable sole surviving victim, who is (sadly, I must admit) also spunky young newspaper intern whose interactions with her superiors are distressingly predictable (see here and here and here, and I’m not sorry for sending you to TVTropes).

Even so, it’s a fun read, and turned out to be just the thing to read on vacation. Give it a spin.

3 thoughts on “Books of 2015, #7: The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes

  1. I didn’t read this one–Sally wasn’t crazy about it–but I did read her follow-up, which was somewhat interesting but not memorable enough that I can even remember its name. It is set in crumbling Detroit and has a spunky police detective on the trail of a serial killer who sews parts of his victims’ bodies to animal corpses. Wasn’t bad though. And come on, you can’t get away with saying a book is too awful to continue and then not name it! I mean, it’s not as if you held back in your review of Gone Girl! Reading now: The Whites by Richard Price, which for some reason he wrote under a pen name. Even he says now he has no idea what made him do that. It’s classic procedural, and Price’s ear for dialog is unmatched. His Freedomland is an epic set in a small place over a short time, and is well worth your time.

  2. Fine: a Greg Iles book, picked up because someone I know on Twitter referred to it as a pleasant enough guilty pleasure.

    God, he’s just a TERRIBLE writer. I lasted about 40 pages before I bailed.

  3. Ha! Never read Iles, though he is a Mississippi boy. Sally apparently can put up with worse writing than I can, because she generally reads him (she reads a fair amount of popcorn). And my dad recently got into his work too. Apparently, there’s a lot of butt sex in his work. But I wouldn’t read him; I read too slowly to waste time on bad books. Nancy Pearl’s rule is, if you don’t like it after 50 pages, leave it. And for every year older you are than 50, you can subtract one from that page count.