Tag Archives: gillian flynn

Sharp Objects

Psychological thriller about unsolved murders and a suppressed past

Content warning: self-harm, child abuse

I am still trying to make some headway in my reading challenges for the year, so I have been trying to double up a little bit and combine both the StoryGraph Onboarding Reading Challenge and the Mount TBR Reading Challenge into one. This was apparently a book that fits all of the criteria of my reading profile: a fiction book that is mysterious, dark, tense, fast-paced and 300-499 pages long. Specific! I actually have read a book by this author previously, and I had picked up another of hers from the Lifeline Bookfair some time a go and was keen to see what it was like.

Photo is of “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn. The paperback book is sitting inside a dolls house between a doll’s chair and a doll’s bed with a blue and white floral bedcover. There is a wooden table with a basket and a miniature bread roll inside. The cover is plain black with embossed dark blue text.

“Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn is a crime thriller novel about a journalist called Camille who is asked to investigate a disappearance in her home town. Reluctantly, Camille takes on the assignment to cover the story of the second missing girl in a short period of time. When she arrives, she braces herself to see her estranged family while she interviews local police and the victim’s family. However, the longer she is in town, the clearer it becomes that despite the wealth and splendour of her family home, there are some very dark secrets that she thought she left behind. Despite seeming relatively stable if uninspired in her job, as the book progresses we start to see just how much of a toll Camille’s childhood has taken on her. Camille also has the opportunity to get to know her much younger, precocious teenage sister and becomes determined to protect her. The question is: who really needs protecting?

This is a compelling, disturbing story that examines the way trauma can ripple through families regardless of class with devastating effects. Flynn juxtaposes Camille’s mother’s pursuit of beauty and perfection with the emotional and physical scars Camille bears from growing up in that environment. Flynn is a very good at building and maintaining tension, and just like in “Gone Girl”, no matter how challenging the subject matter becomes, it is almost impossible to look away. There is a TV adaptation which is just as good with excellent acting.

I think the only thing about this book is that at times it feels almost provocative for the sake of it, kind of the same way that Camille’s little sister Amma is provocative for the sake of it. There were parts of this book that left me deeply uncomfortable; not just the fallout from terrible crimes, but the ethics of Camille’s own decisions.

An eminently readable yet uneasy story.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Mystery/Thriller

Gone Girl

This book has gotten a lot of attention lately after its adaptation into the box office success of the same name. Psychological thrillers aren’t usually my bag, but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I picked up a copy secondhand and gave it a whirl.

“Gone Girl”, by Gillian Flynn, is a book you just cannot put down. Power couple Nick and Amy Dunne have been hit hard by the Global Financial Crisis. When Nick loses his job as a journalist, and Amy subsequently loses hers as a quiz editor, they move from their fast-moving New York lives to Nick’s hometown in Missouri to look after his dying mother. Herself from an affluent family, Amy agrees to let Nick use her trust fund to start up a bar with his twin sister. However, their relationship is going poorly and when Amy disappears on the day of their 5th wedding anniversary, Nick finds himself in a media spotlight as the primary suspect of her disappearance, if not also her murder.


This book is kind of like seeing a train wreck: you feel like you probably shouldn’t stare, but you just can’t look away. Flynn is a master of manipulating our morbid curiosity, and for that reason her novel is utterly compelling. She maintains an optimum level of tension throughout, and I think I read all 400-odd pages in about two sittings. She’s also an evocative writer, and easily and convincingly switches between the voices of her main characters.

I was surprised by this book. I was surprised at how much of a page turner it was. I was surprised at the characterisation. I was surprised by the writing. It’s not a genre I would usually seek out, but I found myself hooked and enjoying the drama and the intrigue. There’s a reason “Gone Girl” has been on the best seller lists: it’s pretty good, hey?


Filed under Book Reviews, General Fiction