Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn hit the headlines with Gone Girl, one of the most talked about novels last year. Her first novel, Sharp Objects is a darker and more disturbing read. A psychological thriller, it’s about what happens when a journalist is sent to investigate the murder of two young girls in her home town.

The journalist protagonist in Camille Preaker. She is a hard-drinking young woman with a history of self harm. She spent time in an institution early in her life. Camille has words carved into her flesh — “vanish” on her neck, “nasty” on her kneecap, “wicked” on her hip.

Camille works for the Daily Post in Chicago. When a young girl, Natalie Keene, is murdered, Camille is dispatched to investigate the story.

Links to an earlier case

She quickly realises that the case is linked to an earlier murder. And it seems that both cases connect to Camille herself. Like Natalie, the earlier victim Ann Nash, a preteen girl knew Camille’s mother.

Camille moves back into her family home but this is a very dysfunctional family. Camille’s mother, Adora, and 13-year old sister, Amma, are both disturbed and terrifying.

As Camille’s investigation continues, the evidence becomes increasingly disturbing threatening Camille both physically and psychologically.

Sharp Objects is a fast and compelling read — perhaps not as polished as Gone Girl, but worth a look.

I purchased the Kindle version on www.amazon.com. ASIN: B002U3CCF6

See also: Gone Girl

Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason | Bodies in the Back Yard

Three Graves Full is an inventive and well-written thriller with plenty of surprising twists, some humor and a good dash of horror. There is almost a Gothic element as the drama unfolds while bodies are excavated from Jason Getty’s garden.

There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.”

Three Graves Full grabs the reader from the first sentence,

Mason’s characters are well drawn. The plot is good and for the most part the pace and drama of the story holds the reader’s interest.

Be warned that it gets a little gory now and then. And the writing style makes is easy to imagine the scenes being depicted.

Interestingly, Mason also explores  ideas such as  “the liar’s margin” — that space where memories are stored that is delineated not by what happened, or how or where it happened — but by why. It is interesting ideas like this that, for me, make Mason one to watch out for in the future.

Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason is published by Gallery Books. ISBN9781451685039 Price US$24.99 (hardback). (Disclosure: a free review copy was made available via Netgalley.com)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl , Gillian Flynn’s latest novel, has been one of the hits of summer 2012. A dark psychological thriller, Gone Girl tells the story of Nick and Amy — a married couple celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary when Amy mysteriously disappears.

Alternate chapters reveal the story from the point of view of each of the two main characters and the challenge for the reader of Gone Girl lies in working out who and what to believe since it soon becomes clear that one or other — probably both — of the narrators is unreliable.

Gillian Flynn draws strong, believable characters and spins an intricate and engrossing tale built around age-old themes of revenge, manipulation and the battle of the sexes.

Gone Girl is a nicely structured novel with satisfying short chapters and great chapter endings. This is an engrossing read that should appeal to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was first published in 2012 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson / Orion Publishing. I purchased the Kindle edition on Amazon.com. ISBN: 978 0 297 85940 6.

If you like Gone Girl, you might also like The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.