Having read and reviewed Gillian Flynn's "Sharp Objects", I was happy to receive this latest work from the author. I like dark fiction, mystery, and the odd bit of creepiness, and this newest title definitely fits the bill.
This novel is told in the first-person POV of Nick Dunne, interspersed with diary entries from Amy, his wife.
Nick was a successful magazine writer and his wife Amy wrote quizzes for magazines in New York. Life was good, especially because Amy also had a decent trust fund from her parents, two psychologists who are the writers of the "Amazing Amy" series of children's books, based loosely on their daughter's life.
Shortly after Nick loses his job, closely followed by Amy losing hers, Nick receives a call from his twin sister Margo "Go". Their well-loved mother is dying of cancer, and Nick decides, without consulting his wife beforehand, that they will move back to his hometown of North Cartage, Missouri to help Margo take care of her. Nick and Margo had always talked about opening a bar, so they borrow from Amy to do so, while Amy ends up being the one sitting with their mother during her treatments, with nothing to do and no friends.
On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick receives a call from his neighbor. His door is wide open and their cat is sitting on the porch. Nick arrives to find a scene of disorder, with a heavy ottoman overturned and other signs of violent struggle throughout the house. Worst of all, his wife is missing.
This is a story of the dark side of marriage and humanity. Ms. Flynn is a talented writer, expert at drawing a mental picture that so perfectly chills the reader: "There's something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold."
With most missing-person cases, close family are the immediate suspects, and Nick finds himself followed closely by the two detectives assigned to the case. Following the clues left by his wife's anniversary "treasure hunt", we also suspect Nick, even while he voices his innocence. Amy's diary entries only add to our suspicions, as we follow the trail of a marriage gone cold, filled with dark bursts and suspicions.
When I wasn't reading this book, I was thinking about it. When I was reading it, it was difficult to put down. I was drawn in from the first page, and totally transfixed thereafter. This is a brilliant piece of psychological writing that will have lovers of dark fiction wishing there were more pages.
This one will definitely be on my "Best Reads" of 2012 list. Pick it up; you won't regret it.
I simply assumed that I would bundle up my New York wife with her New York interests, her New York pride, and remove her from her New York parents - leave the frantic,thrilling futureland of Manhattan behind - and transplant her to a little town on the river in Missouri, and all would be fine.
I did not yet understand how foolish, how optimistic, how, yes, just like Nick I was for thinking this. The misery it would lead to.
These messages and orders brought to you by my father, a mid-level phone-company manager who treated my mother at best like an incompetent employee. At worst? He never beat her, but his pur, inarticlate fury would fill the house for days, weeks, at a time, making the air humid, hard to breathe, my father stalking around with his lower jaw jutting out, giving him the look of a wounded, vengeful boxer, grinding his teeth so loud you could hear it across the room. Throwing things near her but not exactly at her. I'm sure he told himself: I never hit her. I'm sure because of this technicality he never saw himself as an abuser. But he turned our family life into an endless road trip with bad directions and a rage-clenched driver, a vacation that never got a chance to be fun. Don't make me turn this car around. Please, really, turn it around.
He came home from work and kissed me full on the lips, and he touched me as if I were really there. I almost cried, I'd been so lonely. To be kissed on the lips by your husband is the most decadent thing.
In the videos, I wore clothes Amy had bought me, and I brushed my hair the way she liked, and I tried to read her mind. My anger toward her was like heated wire.
"...why are you so wonderful to me?"
He was supposed to say: You deserve it. I love you.
But he said, "Because I feel sorry for you."
"Because every morning you have to wake up and be you."
Writing: 5 out of 5 stars
Plot: 5 out of 5 stars
Characters: 5 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion: 5 out 5 stars
BOOK RATING: 5 out of 5 stars
Sensitive Reader: Some profanity
Book Clubs: Definitely a great pick - there will be lots to discuss as you move through the book and the direction of the story and the feel for the characters change.show more
by Julie Smith