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Sharp Objects: A Novel

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Sharp Objects: A Novel Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"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

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"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.)

Review:

"Flynn delivers a great whodunit, replete with hinting details, telling dialogue, dissembling clues....Piercingly effective and genuinely terrifying." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

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

Review:

"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

Review:

"[F]irst-time novelist Flynn expertly divulges [a] tale reminiscent of the works of Shirley Jackson....Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

Review:

"[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

Review:

"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

Review:

"[A] brilliant novel....It's a stunning, powerful debut from someone who truly has something to say." San Jose Mercury News

Review:

"A witty, stylish, and compelling debut. A real winner." Harlan Coben, bestselling author of The Innocent

Review:

"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

Review:

"Darkly original....Flynn expertly ratchets up the suspense....A disturbing yet riveting tale." People

Review:

"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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

velveetahead, May 11, 2008 (view all comments by velveetahead)
A newspaper reporter at a small Chicago newspaper is sent on assignment to her old hometown in Wind Gap, Mo. to find out why young girls keep showing up dead.

This was a really quick read. I found it very enthralling, especially the parts where the main character described why she cut herself when she was younger. I never understood cutting, so reading a character trying to describe why they say it and what they are thinking when they do it, helps to understand why young girls do it. That isn't the main part of the story, but just a subplot that really helps the reader get inside the main character's head while she is trying to work on the murder story for her paper in a town she did not want to return. She ran away to get away from her mother, but she was back living with her mother and her young half-sister that her mother adores, while also dealing with the haunting reminders of her dead younger sister that her mother obviously loved more than her.

There is a lot going on in the story, but it is very well written. My only complaint was I saw who was committing the murders about halfway through the book. I didn't guess the full reason, but it wasn't surprising when I found out the full reason behind it. Gillian Flynn is a writer for Entertainment Weekly. She reviews television. I wonder if watching and reviewing crime shows gave her some ideas for the book, but from watching my fair share of them myself, I think that was what helped me guess the killer.
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(31 of 62 readers found this comment helpful)
The Book Fairy, December 4, 2007 (view all comments by The Book Fairy)
Interesting premise, juvenile execution. Grammatical and word choice errors annoying. Important characters (e.g. ghostly stepfather, wicked granny) never developed. Unrealistic crime, unrealistic investigation, unrealistic aftermath. Does not even attempt to describe the trial. Switcheroo of an ending. Excessive talk about violence, drugs, sex, and alcohol does not make this into a grown-up story.
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(44 of 98 readers found this comment helpful)
Clark, September 21, 2007 (view all comments by Clark)
This book is powerful. The book is dark and disturbing, I almost hated turning the pages because I never knew what was waiting ahead. I couldn't help myself from turning the pages though, because this story is very addicting. Gillian Flynn makes you feel the pain of the characters, which is often a difficult task for authors to accomplish. I enjoyed this book in a sick and twisted kind of way. I definately will buy future books from Gillian Flynn.
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(41 of 80 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307341549
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Thrillers
Author:
Gillian Flynn
Author:
Gillian Flynn
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Missouri
Subject:
Women journalists
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Publication Date:
September 26, 2006
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
254
Dimensions:
9.66x6.48x.99 in. 1.25 lbs.
Age Level:
10<br><br> Missing since 5/12<br><br> Last seen

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Sharp Objects: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 254 pages Shaye Areheart Books - English 9780307341549 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)
"Review A Day" by , "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." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "Flynn delivers a great whodunit, replete with hinting details, telling dialogue, dissembling clues....Piercingly effective and genuinely terrifying."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[F]irst-time novelist Flynn expertly divulges [a] tale reminiscent of the works of Shirley Jackson....Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[A] brilliant novel....It's a stunning, powerful debut from someone who truly has something to say."
"Review" by , "A witty, stylish, and compelling debut. A real winner."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Darkly original....Flynn expertly ratchets up the suspense....A disturbing yet riveting tale."
"Review" by , "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."
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