I never got in on the madness that swept through the blogiverse when Flynn's first book "Sharp Objects" was published. But boy, it was hard to ignore the rave reviews. I also did not read her second book "Dark Places". Too many books, so little time, and all that. I feel like I need to go confess for these sins. I know not what I do.
Because, my friends, after reading this book. This freaking Tilt-a-Whirl carnival ride of a book. This INSANE book. I am shamed. What. The. Hell. Have. I. Been. Doing. With. My. Life.
Did you see that in the middle of May, a couple of weeks before it's pub date, Entertainment Weekly had this little beauty on its Bullseye List? In the good part of the Bullseye, I might add, saying it is the one book you need to read this summer? And the "A" they ultimately gave it, calling it "ingenious and viperish"? (Seriously, look at this review.) Well, they weren't lying. Let's see if I can give you a feel for what you are in for, without spoiling the heck out of it.
Synopsis: On the morning of Nick and Amy's fifth wedding anniversary, in the small town of Carthage, Missouri, everything starts out business as usual. Amy makes Nick crepes, then Nick heads out to work at the bar he bought and runs with his twin sister. A few hours later, however, Amy is missing and there are signs of a struggle at their home. Amy's parents fly in, the police get involved, and soon the entire nation is praying for Amy's safe return. It is no surprise that all eyes are on Nick. Everyone knows that it is always the husband who is the prime suspect. And Nick has been acting inappropriately, which makes it worse.
In alternating chapters, we hear from Nick and from Amy through diary entries written prior to her disappearance. This is obviously a marriage that has taken a wrong turn, and a reader would expect to get two sides of the story. Marriages go through tough times, after all. But the reader will NOT expect the sinister, sadistic turn this tale takes halfway through. A character study in chilling, sociopathic behavior? A psychotic emotional roller-coaster? A device to force every married reader to look a little closer at their spouse? A statement on the public's mass hysteria and knee-jerk judgements of cases involving missing women? This story has it all.
My thoughts: OK, I've said this a million times before. I am a huge mystery thriller fan. Mysteries, murders, psycho-killers...this is my comfort food. They do all start to run together for me after while, however. You have to find a niche, set yourself apart to get my attention and force me to remember the plot a week after I've finished it.
So trust me. You have never read anything quite like this. Dudes it is DARK. Like Cohen Brothers dark. Maybe even darker. Into a mile-deep black pit of foul inky sludge you go.
Holy mind-screw Batman. I had no idea which was was north. I was completely incapable of managing my emotions. I hated Nick, I loved Amy. I hated Amy, I loved Nick. I hated them all. I feared them all. I didn't know how I felt. Which team was I on? I was scared, horrified, but also strangely electrified and consumed by this story and the personalities involved. I didn't like the people in this book AT ALL, which is normally the kiss of death with me. But I couldn't take my eyes off them. They were compelling, beguiling.
So what else do I need to say to get you to read this? That it will be on my favorites list at year end? That it would blow the roof off of a book club? Just. Go read it, now. While I go redeem myself as a lover of mysteries and read this author's back list.
5 out of 5 stars