Everything happens for a reason. It’s because he is forced to leave that he finds the House. It is because he took the coat that he has the key.

Chicago 1931: Harper Curtis is set on a path of murder when he walks into the House. A house that calls out to him to kill the girls who shine. In 1992 Kirby Mazrachi starts an internship at the Chicago Sun-Times, shadowing the man who covered her attempted murder in 1989. Dan now works on the sports section, a subject Kirby has no interest in, but the job lets her get close to the files that could lead her to the man who tried to kill her.

It’s an interesting take on a time-slip novel; for it is not just the reader that is going back in forth in time, but a character too. Chicago’s history from 1931 to 1993 is shown through the short lives of the shining girls; their jobs, surroundings and the objects Harper takes. For a story with an element of time travel, I loved that it didn’t go into the future. There is a vintage feel to it and the 90s setting feels more natural for a newspaper investigation, reminding me of the cases where newspapers were at the forefront. The house, with its wall of shimmering objects interconnecting the murdered girls, is creepy and feels like a controlling presence.

The description of Kirby’s attack is a powerful piece of writing. Her awareness coupled with the horror, make it difficult reading but will stick with you long after. And despite everything, it is heartbreaking that her first thoughts are to the treatment of her wonderful, loyal dog. The dogs get me every time.

The Shining Girls is a genre defying novel; something we are starting to see a lot more of these days and that can only be a good thing. It is solidly crime but with an SFF element, weaving through periods in recent history as well as being a gripping thriller.

Published in the UK by HarperCollins, The Shining Girls will be available in hardback, audio and ebook formats from 25th April 2013. South Africa gets a stunning Joey HiFi cover design including a limited edition version via RandomHouse Umuzi. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.