The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes
Performed by Khristine Hvam, Peter Ganim, Jay Snyder, Joshua Boone, Dani Cervone, and Jenna Hellmuth
A stellar audio recording intensifies the horror of Lauren Beukes’ story of a time-traveling serial killer and the “shining girls” he snuffs out. The Shining Girls‘ ensemble cast employs a variety of accents to portray the myriad characters who narrate the book’s chapters, who range from an African-American mother in World War II to a world-weary sports reporter trudging through the early 1990s. Standouts include Peter Ganim, reading volatile murderer Harper Curtis, who sounds a hair’s breadth away from shouting at the listener at any given moment. Khristine Hvam’s Kirby Mazrachi, a survivor of Harper’s violence who lives in hope of catching him, is a perfect foil for her deadly prey. Hvam imbues her reading with a mix of sarcasm and naked sincerity. Though all six readers must impersonate each other at various times, the characters’ voices remain consistently identifiable. For listeners interested in a violent mystery spanning most of the twentieth century, The Shining Girls is highly recommended.