Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I finished reading Sharp Objects this weekend.  At 252 pages, it’s a quick read.  After reading Flynn’s second book, Dark Places, earlier this year I couldn’t get enough of her and wanted to read her first book.  Like I said in my review of Dark Places, if Flynn writes more (and I hope she does) then she has a loyal fan in me.  While Sharp Objects doesn’t quite have the intensity that Dark Places showed us, it’s still just as good.

In it, we meet Camille Preaker, a Chicago reporter who returns to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri to look into the story of two young teen girls who went missing and were later found dead and missing all of their teeth.  The local police have no leads and have called in help from Kansas City to assist in the investigation.  Locals have their own suspicions and small town gossips abounds.

But Flynn doesn’t serve us just another cookie cutter mystery.  Much of the book is about Camille attempting to reconnect with her well-to-do Mom who owns the local pig abattoir, Mom’s stiff squeaky husband, and her bizarre attention-hungry young sister named Amma. As Camille jumps head first into the case and attempts to get a good quote on record from the parents of the deceased or the Kansas City investigator, she rediscovers what she reminisces of her years growing up in the smalltown of Wind Gap and we learn more about her and the pain she has lived.  Camille is a cutter, carving various words literally all over her body.  And to make things worse, her Mom is a hypochondriac.

I had the killer pegged as soon as I met them, but constantly second guessed myself as Flynn leads you away from the mystery at hand and deeper into the psyche of Camille, her sister, and her mother.  Camille pays visits to the girls she grew up with and went to high school with, desperate to break something in the case, but in the process it all comes back to her sad mother and her bully sister, who apparently rules the school with her pretentious attitude.  Camille also develops a physical relationship with the investigator who refuses to budge on giving Camille something she can use in her story.

Just like Flynn’s second book, the characters here are all ticking time bombs of emotion and turmoil.  You love them.  You hate them.  You love to hate them.  In fact, you become so emotionally attached to them yourself that you just can’t put the book down.  Throw in a gritty murder mystery to solve and you have the perfect recipe for a book that I just can’t stop thinking about.

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