Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

 

Sharp Objects
by
Gillian Flynn

Rating:

Frank Curry, editor of Chicago’s Daily Post, thinks he’s doing a good thing by sending Camille Preaker to cover a murder investigation in her home town of Wind Gap, Missouri. Camille is just out of a stay in a psych ward and Curry thinks this assignment will get her back on track.

A nine-year-old girl has been murdered in Wind Gap and now a ten-year-old girl is missing. When the second girl’s body is discovered, details of the murder suggest a serial killer. Is the killer a stranger to the town or, more disturbingly, one of them?

Camille’s return to the small town is anything but a warm family reunion. It’s been eight years since she’s visited her mother, stepfather and younger half-sister, Amma. Readers quickly discover a strange and dysfunctional family dynamic. Adora Crellin is a controlling mother to thirteen-year-old Amma, a girl who wears pigtails at home, but runs wild in town. And Camille soon notices their mother’s obsession with Amma’s health, who often suffers from fevers and undetermined illnesses. She wonders if Amma is like their sickly and now dead sister, Marian, who died when Camille was thirteen. Marian’s death marks a dark turning point in the family’s history, a time when Camille turned to self-harm to cope.

Camille gathers information for a series of articles as local police and a special detective from Kansas City look for a suspect and motive. A romantic spark between Camille and the detective leads to shared information that may solve the crimes and put Camille back on track, or not. Several false leads initially distract Camille and police from finding the killer, but help the reader understand Wind Gap’s small-town culture.

To avoid spoilers, I’ll need to stop short of describing the rest of the story and leave the discoveries to the reader. I enjoyed Sharp Objects, a fast-paced suspenseful thriller. Published in 2006, it is Flynn’s debut novel and, while it is similar to Gone Girl (2012) in its darkness and unlikeable and twisted characters, plot and character are less developed. (Read my review of Gone Girl here.) Readers also need to let go of a need for realistic scenarios and accept the developments at the finish as part of the need to wrap things up.

In addition to a suspenseful story, Flynn draws attention to the devastating effects of mental illnesses, especially those that lead to cutting and other forms of self-harm. I recommend Sharp Objects to readers who enjoy dark suspenseful stories. Sharp Objects is now an HBO series. You can check it out here.

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15 thoughts on “Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

  1. I read (and enjoyed) this book shortly after reading Gone Girl. I later watched the HBO series, which I really enjoyed as well, so now I have brought my copy of Sharp Objects forward on my Kindle for a possible reread. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I never read Gone Girl since I wasn’t sure it was my kind of book. While in college and shortly after, I loved to read stories such as these. I suppose with everything that goes on in our world, I need a feel good story….corny, I know. 🙂 Thanks for the terrific review, Barbara!

    1. Hi Jennifer. Yes I thought Gone Girl was excellent because of the twisted characters. Sharp Objects was not quite as good and, although I’d be interested in watching the series, I do shy away from super dark stories. The main character’s family in Sharp Objects is really dysfunctional. Thanks for reading!

      1. Totally dysfunctional! Between the self-cutting and the wicked mother, I was glad when the series was over. Even the main actress said she didn’t want to do another season because it was too hard on her.

    1. Same. I thought Gone Girl was much better. We don’t get HBO so I won’t be watching anytime soon. There are so many other shows I’d be interested in watching before it, but I hardly watch anyway! Thanks for reading, Jeff.

      1. I’m deep into three shows right now: third season of Man in the High Castle, Haunting of Hill House, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Right now, Sabrina is getting the most attention. Loved the graphic series and the show is awesome. Stars the actress who played Sally in Mad Men 😀

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