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Sharp Objects: A Novelby Gillian Flynn
"Wallowing in the misery, dysfunction, backstabbing, casual sexual exploitation, and rampant pettiness of small-town life is the strongest part of the narrative. I wonder if Sharp Objects might have worked better as a pitch-black comedy, or as a thriller without the mystery trappings. Flynn seems to have invested so much energy in making her main character live and breathe, neuroses fully ablaze, that she neglected to craft a formidable mystery." Chris Bolton, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Flynn gives new meaning to the term 'dysfunctional family' in her chilling debut thriller. Camille Preaker, once institutionalized for youthful self-mutilation, now works for a third-rung Chicago newspaper. When a young girl is murdered and mutilated and another disappears in Camille's hometown of Wind Gap, Mo., her editor, eager for a scoop, sends her there for a human-interest story. Though the police, including Richard Willis, a profiler from Kansas City, Mo., say they suspect a transient, Camille thinks the killer is local. Interviewing old acquaintances and newcomers, she relives her disturbed childhood, gradually uncovering family secrets as gruesome as the scars beneath her clothing. The horror creeps up slowly, with Flynn misdirecting the reader until the shocking, dreadful and memorable double ending. She writes fluidly of smalltown America, though many characters are clichs hiding secrets. Flynn, the lead TV critic for Entertainment Weekly, has already garnered blurbs from Stephen King and Harlan Coben. 5-city author tour; foreign rights sold in 10 countries. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Flynn delivers a great whodunit, replete with hinting details, telling dialogue, dissembling clues....Piercingly effective and genuinely terrifying." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"This impressive debut novel is fueled by stylish writing and compelling portraits of desperate housewives, southern style....A stylish turn on dark crimes and even darker psyches." Booklist
"To say this is a terrific debut novel is really too mild....Sharp Objects isn't one of those scare-and-retreat books; its effect is cumulative. I found myself dreading the last thirty pages or so but was helpless to stop turning them. Then, after the lights were out, the story just stayed there in my head, coiled and hissing, like a snake in a cave. An admirably nasty piece of work, elevated by sharp writing and sharper insights." Stephen King
"[F]irst-time novelist Flynn expertly divulges [a] tale reminiscent of the works of Shirley Jackson....Highly recommended." Library Journal
"A first novel that reads like the accomplished work of a long-time pro, the book draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction....All in all, a terrific debut." Chicago Tribune
"To loathe one's home town is a venerable literary tradition, but I can't think of another novel that has painted a more scathing, over-the-top portrait of small-town America....Flynn generates suspense over who killed the two little girls." The Washington Post Book World
"[A] tense and troubling murder mystery, a compulsively readable psychological thriller that marks [a] dazzling debut....Flynn's empathic understanding of her major characters leads to storytelling that is sure and true, and it marks her a writer to watch." Chicago Sun-Times
"This is not a comfortable novel of touchy-feely family fun. Rather, it is a tough tale told with remarkable clarity and dexterity, particularly for a first-time author." Denver Post
"[A] brilliant novel....It's a stunning, powerful debut from someone who truly has something to say." San Jose Mercury News
"A witty, stylish, and compelling debut. A real winner." Harlan Coben, bestselling author of The Innocent
"A tense, irresistable thriller....Flynn's first-person narration is pitch-perfect, but even more impressive is the way she orchestrates the slim novel's onrushing tension toward a heart-stopping climax." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Darkly original....Flynn expertly ratchets up the suspense....A disturbing yet riveting tale." People
"More in the tradition of Joyce Carol Oates than Agatha Christie, this one will leave readers profoundly disturbed. But from the first line...you know you're in the hands of a talented and accomplished writer." The Boston Globe
About the Author
Gillian Flynn is the chief TV critic at Entertainment Weekly. She lives in Chicago, where she is writing her second novel.
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