Book: Sharp Objects

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Book:

Sharp Objects: A Novel

Author: Gillian Flynn
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Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s Preaker’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart

Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg

Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle

As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.

Reviews

Amazon.com

Gillian Flynn is TV critic for US magazine Entertainment Weekly, but after the highly impressive thriller debut that is Sharp Objects, she may have to re-think the day job - particularly as such masters of the thriller as Harlan Coben and Stephen King are falling over each other to praise her novel.

Flynn’s conflicted heroine is journalist Camille Parker, who is holding down a job on a low-rent newspaper, convinced that she’s inspiring only feeling of disappointment in her editor, who has nursed unfulfilled hopes for her journalistic career. Camille, from a small town called Wind Gap in Missouri, sees herself as white trash, but actually hails from a moneyed family. To maintain her sanity, she has escaped from the town and her highly-strung, hypochondriac mother. But bad news beckons: she is summoned by her editor, who suggests she return to her home town to cover the abduction and murder of two young girls. Despite all her reservations (not least for her own mental equilibrium), she feels she must go, returning to the impressive Victorian mansion that was her home. She is quickly back in dangerous territory with her demanding mother - and reminding herself how she fell into a dark cycle of self-harm. Another problem is her Lolita-ish half-sister, a precocious teenager with a following of alienated girlfriends and some dark secrets of her own. Back in this destabilising territory, Camille is reminded of the childhood tragedy that left a mark on her. Looking into the deaths of the murdered girls, she starts to make big mistakes: going to bed with the investigator assigned to the case, and, worse, getting involved with the prime suspect, a disturbed teenager.

This heady brew of Southern gothic is dispatched with an assurance that totally belies the fact that this is a debut novel - and, what’s more, will have most readers hungry for more of Gillian Flynn’s individual brand of sexually-charged menace. —Barry Forshaw

Barnes and Noble

“My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly.” An edgy first line, and it provides the perfect opening for this gritty debut novel by journalist Flynn. Her protagonist, Camille Preaker, is a reporter for a second-rate Chicago newspaper. A solitary woman with a cynical bent, she appears to have carved out a workable life for herself despite a painful past and an estranged family. But when a second young girl turns up missing in Camille’s hometown—shortly after another local girl was found murdered—Camille’s editor sends her home to Missouri to cover the story. The question is, can Camille get to the bottom of the story before her demons get the best of her?

A classic whodunit, Sharp Objects is an gripping page-turner. Readers follow Camille to the field as she examines crime scenes, interviews the friends and family of the victims, and probes reticent investigators for information. After all, the world of investigative reporting is tantalizing. Take, for example, the provocative flirting between Camille and a Kansas City detective assigned to the cases. Is it sex they’re after, or simply information? And the gradual unfolding of Camille’s alarming past will keep readers riveted until the very last page.

Flynn writes with impressive authenticity about difficult, often painful, subject matter. As its title suggests, Sharp Objects is a cutting, incisive read. (Holiday 2006 Selection)

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