The Shining Girls
is the third novel from South African writer Lauren Beukes and her first real push at breaking into the mainstream. While her first two novels (Moxyland
and Zoo City
) were fun, cutting sci-fi stories set in Cape Town and Johannesburg, The Shining Girls
is a thriller with a sci-fi trappings set in Chicago. The story bounces around time periods and characters but for the most part it follows Harper, a time travelling killer, and Kirby, a young woman trying to track down the mysterious man who attacked her years ago. Beukes’s take on America isn’t nearly as interesting as her take on South Africa, and the writing also feels less crisp here too. Her previous novels showed that Beukes had a talent for subverting cliches. The Shining Girls
show that she is just as capable of succumbing to them.