Day 584: The Shining Girls

Cover for The Shining GirlsBest Book of the Week!
The Shining Girls is a clever, clever novel, a hybrid of a fantasy novel and a crime thriller. I read rave reviews of it, and it deserves them.

Harper has just killed a man in a Chicago Hooverville in 1931. He is being pursued in the freezing cold when he murders a blind woman for her coat. Inside the pocket he finds a house key, and somehow he knows the way to the house. It is a boarded up old wreck on the outside, but inside it is warm and comfortable, even prosperous looking. When Harper goes into an upstairs room, he finds souvenirs and girls’ names written on the wall. He understands that the house wants him to kill these girls. When he goes back outside, he finds himself in another time.

In 1993, Kirby Mazrachi interviews for an internship at the Chicago Sun-Times. She has asked to work with Dan Velasquez, a former crime writer who now covers sports. Her goal is to find the man who attacked her and nearly killed her in 1989. She believes he is a serial killer, and she is planning to use the paper’s resources to find more of his murders.

As Kirby continues her investigation, finding evidence that doesn’t make sense, Harper tracks down his shining girls one by one, visiting them when they are young and then going back for them as adults, over a time period of 60 years. He takes something from each one and gives it to the next.

This novel is completely absorbing, well written, and suspenseful. It is also haunting and unusual, with everything cleverly linked up. In the larger context, it explores the issues of fate and free will, but as entertainment, it keeps you pinned to your seat.


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