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.


SHARP OBJECTS gets a kiss but it’s closed-mouth:

Am giving DARK PLACES an open-mouthed kiss:

And the audiobook of GONE GIRL gets ALL THE TONGUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  1. Thanks for the info! After devouring Gone Girl part of me wanted to rush out and get her earlier novels and part of me was scared to, afraid of disappointment. Now that I have an idea of what I’m getting I’m happy to give them both a try. Isn’t is amazing when you read a book as good as Gone Girl? It actually deserves the attention it’s getting!

  2. Tonguing your player is a sure sign of audiobook appreciation. I love it! I read this book and loved it beyond all that is holy. Between you and Bob (The Guilded Earlobe), I will most definitely be re-reading Gone Girl in audio.

  3. Nadia says:

    Glad you enjoyed Flynn’s works, but I am just not a fan. Of course, I’ve only read GONE GIRL. I just found the book to be too predictable and devoid of any WOW factor that everyone keeps raving about. I think I was expecting something a bit more highbrow and was disappointed when it wasn’t. Oh well. We can’t always love the same books, right?

  4. Katie says:

    I bought Gone Girl as soon as it was out and was all “meh” about it – until the halfway point. YOU KNOW. And then I devoured the rest in one giant helping. I just finished Dark Places and can’t decide which one I loved more. SO MUCH LOVE! I was planning to buy Sharp Objects this weekend, but now I’m a little hesitant if it’s only closed-lips-kiss-worthy. Am I going to be disappointed?

  5. Melissa says:

    I did the exact same thing with the audio of We Need to Talk About Kevin. I couldn’t put it down! I loved Gone Girl too and now I’ll have to check out her other two books.

  6. Nikki Steele says:

    Ack! I was thisclose to getting Gone Girl at the bookstore the other day but opted for Gold instead based on the review you posted first in time sequential. Well that and the staff that admitted to having read neither of them, but hearing a lot about Gold.
    Sigh, it looks like it will just have to be another trip to the bookstore.

  7. Leah says:

    Nice post! I read and loved Gone Girl (who hasn’t, right?), but haven’t made it to Flynn’s other books yet. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how they compare; I think I’ll pick up Dark Places, but I might give Sharp Objects a miss if it only gets a closed-mouth kiss. I have to know, though, is the closed-mouth kiss a quick peck before heading out the door or a soft kiss on the forehead while snuggling on the couch? It makes all the difference.

  8. bybeebooks says:

    I’m going in the same order as you with Gillian Flynn’s novels. She definitely made my summer!

  9. I just bought Gone Girl on audio and slipping it the tongue is a sure sign of appreciation, I can’t wait to listen!

  10. Jenny says:

    I have Gone Girl on my Nook, but I think, and your post confirms that this would be a good plan even though I am following kind of the opposite instruction of the one you have given, that Gillian Flynn would be a good author to read her books in order of publication. I like seeing authors getting better and better, and this way I will be saving the best date for last. Good plan? Right?

  11. I read her books in the order they were published. I think that my favorite is Dark Places because I really had no clue what was going on. I felt that Gone Girl was a different style than the first two. I loved it, but I have mixed feelings about the end. Sort of. It was just so messed up! I can’t wait till she writes her next book.

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