Book Review - Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Recommended by my niece, I finally got around to reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. This is an extremely dark crime novel that spends far more time in the psychological realm than the criminal world, but it works OK if you're in the right mindset.
Camille Preaker is a reporter for a second-tier newspaper in Chicago. Her editor decides to send her back to her home town of Wind Gap to write a story on the murder of two young girls. The murders have all the signs of a serial killer, as the bodies are both missing all their teeth. It's his hope that this story will scoop the larger papers and earn the paper some respect. But there's far more at stake for Preaker than just the story...
Camille grew up in a severely dysfunctional home that left her with emotional and physical scars. One of her sisters died of a mysterious illness when she was growing up. She also has a 13 year old sister that is heavily into drugs, sex, and manipulation. When Preaker arrives in Wind Gap to write the story, plenty of old wounds are opened up, and her whole warped relationship with her mother starts to play out all over. The town has their ideas as to who killed the girls, but Preaker is coming to some uncomfortable realizations as to who might be responsible for it all. And if those realizations are accurate, she has to face some difficult questions about her own personality.
While there is a crime that's being investigated here, the main plot-line revolves around Preaker and her emotional issues. You learn pretty quickly that she is a cutter, hence the name of the book. It's bizarrely compelling to see how those compulsions play out in her life during periods of stress, which is pretty much all the time. And since it's written in first-person form from Preaker's perspective, you quickly become immersed in her own private hell.
For a debut novel, Flynn has done a very good job. If you're looking for a pure crime novel, the heavy psychological slant will probably make you a bit uncomfortable. But if you're open to a dark blend of crime and warped minds, this will be a book you'll have a hard time putting down.