As if the sudden chill in the air, the changing leaves, and the dark evenings weren’t enough to convince me that fall is officially here, my apartment building decided to get in on the action this week by setting up an ENORMOUS inflatable grim reaper in the lobby. It’s just decoration for the annual Halloween party, but it looms over you in an ominous way when you’re checking your mail. And speaking of things that kind of freak me out, The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes is an excellent book to read to get you in the Halloween mood by scaring the bejeezus out of you.
Serial killers and their victims may seem like well-covered material, but this version has a twist–the killer has found a house in Chicago that allows him to travel through time, killing women in Chicago throughout the 1900s. But one of his planned victims survived, and she’s on a mission to figure out who attacked her, no matter how strange the answer might be. The action alternates between the killer and the survivor, and the tension builds as their stories converge. And the occasional chapter following one of the doomed women feel like tiny historical fiction stories, providing snapshots of life at various points in the twentieth century.
There are a lot of things that make me want to recommend this book, including a compelling mystery, a kick-ass female lead character, and a compelling first-person view inside the mind of the killer. But it is a very dark, very creepy, and at times hard to read–I had to stop reading it right before bed because it was giving me nightmares. Also, something bad happens to a dog. But if you’re looking for something to scare you a bit, this is a solid bet.
Kinsey’s (Approximately) Three Word Review: Criminal Minds meets Quantum Leap
You might also like: Any of the mysteries by Tana French or Gillian Flynn–I know I recommend these two all the time, but they have a similar feeling. And Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro has a similar mystery combined with a slightly different universe than ours.
Thanks for the warning, Kinsey! I was all like, “oh, this sounds promising, maybe I’ll check it out. Oh, harm to a dog? Nevermind.”
Yeah, since the whole thing is about a serial killer, the dog wasn’t a huge surprise (and it wasn’t as bad as The Knife of Never Letting Go), but still. I feel like people should know up front, so they can make their own dog-based decisions.