DATING MY WAY THROUGH GILLIAN FLYNNPosted: August 21, 2012
About halfway through Gillian Flynn’s breakthrough thriller GONE GIRL, I started taking the audiobook (which I had been listening to in my car) inside the house with me. This is how you know an audiobook worth its Audible credit: you’re so invested in the story you either stay in your car parked in your driveway until three in the morning finishing the book… or you walk around your house for an entire weekend wearing headphones finishing that book. The last audiobook I got this Single-White-Female-Fatal-Attraction-obsessed over was WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN.
So of course I grab copies of Flynn’s first two novels SHARP OBJECTS and DARK PLACES, ate them up with a fork and a spoon this past weekend, and now it’s time to report back to my favorite people in the world MY READERS with results.
I loved GONE GIRL, I really, really liked DARK PLACES, and I very much appreciated SHARP OBJECTS. I should note this is also the order they were published in, from most recent (GONE GIRL was published this summer) to least (SHARP OBJECTS was 2006 and DARK PLACES was 2009). This means that Flynn kicks progressively more and more ass with each mystery she writes. It also means it’s really tough as a reader to work backwards, starting with the best, and regressing to the still-very-good-but-not-the-best. SHARP OBJECTS just does not reach the heights of GONE GIRL.It is a well done mystery, a reporter investigating child murders in her hometown and digging up some truly horrific pieces of information about her past while she’s there. DARK PLACES, another girl-going-home story, but this time about a young girl whose family was murdered in their farmhouse IN COLD BLOOD- style, and said girl, now in her early thirties, has been prompted by a bunch of nerds obsessed with her family’s death, to go back through that day and go back to all the people who were involved and figure out who really killed her family. If you’re a big mystery reader and you haven’t read any of Flynn, you will flip. Her characters are all super-f’d-up, the ambiance and atmosphere is rural-America-spooky, there are great twists, turns, and red herrings, and I NEVER guessed who the killer was, and I’m smart, I guessed the killer seven minutes in that one time I watched CSI.
But if you’re not a big-time mystery-thriller face, I would say MOST definitely GONE GIRL (all the cool kids are reading it this summer), a mystery about a golden girl wife gone missing where all clues point to the husband, told in alternating. his-and-her perspectives. Seriously you guys, I have not witnessed a fictional marriage so fascinating and f—ed up since the last time I watched WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF (and George and Martha are f———-ed up). Then if you’re still feeling mystery-happy after that give DARK PLACES a go for sure.
MY DATES WITH GILLIAN FLYNN BOOKS:
SHARP OBJECTS gets a kiss but it’s closed-mouth:
Am giving DARK PLACES an open-mouthed kiss: