When I finished Dark Places (reviewed here) a couple of weeks ago, it took me a couple of days to realize how much I’d enjoyed that thriller, and I immediately felt compelled to search for a copy of the last Gillian Flynn novel that I hadn’t read: Sharp Objects. I got hold of a copy as soon as I could and then started it straight away!
It started off quite slowly really – not in a boring way, just a bit slower than the two other Gillian Flynn books I’ve read: Gone Girl and Dark Places, both of which start off abruptly, where the reader is launched into either the disappearance of Amy Dunne, or the rather messed-up life of Libby Day. This book started on the subject of a series of murders and a reporter who is the main character in this thriller: Camille, has returned to her mother’s mansion in a small town called Wind Gap to report on a murder case happening there.
As usual, Gillian Flynn crafts each character excellently and I think that is what makes her books so appealing. All of her characters have something about them: there is always, always more than one side to them. It quickly becomes evident that Camille’s mother, Adora, is spoilt, quite spiteful – and quite like Amy Dunne, she makes herself out to be weak and vulnerable when she certainly isn’t. Camille herself comes across as quite an ordinary woman, but then, later on in the story, it is revealed that she self-harmed herself to quite a major extent, when she was a teenager, which surprised me.
Adora has a younger daughter – Amma, who is thirteen. As Camille is in her late twenties or thirties, there is quite an age-gap between them, but Camille emphasises that it wasn’t necessarily planned this way; Amma was more or less a replacement to Camille’s dead younger sister, who died of an illness when she was a child. Amma is a strange girl, because inside her mother’s mansion, she is a sweet and innocent thirteen year old, but outside, she is an outgoing teen who acts like she is about twenty!
The story itself surrounds the deaths of two young girls – both around the age of ten, who have been murdered in the town for no evident reason. Camille has returned to her childhood home to investigate and write an article about the deaths. She teams up with a police inspector: Richard (who she becomes quite close with) and tries to pluck information about the case from him.
I also noticed when I was reading this book was that Gillian Flynn delves into some grotesque animal cruelty themes, which I thought were extremely unnecessarily realistic. I hate animal cruelty of any kind and I cannot stand to read about it, so when these scenes crept up on me, they quite shocked me. There was one in Dark Places about killing cows, and there was one in this book about cruelty of pigs. I know that many people’s argument would be that it is only fiction, but these descriptions were quite graphic and disturbing in my opinion, and that’s the only thing I don’t like about Gillian Flynn, as a writer.
Anyway, the ending of this book is very satisfying and harrowing. I actually came to really like the character who was the killer in the end, so that was an eye-opener! A brilliant book – I enjoyed it very much indeed and I would most certainly recommend it to any fans of thrillers or to readers who have enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s other books.
There’s just one ‘book’ haven’t read by Gillian Flynn, now, but I’m not sure if it’s classed as a book – it’s probably more of a novella. It is called The Grown-up. Has anyone read it? Is it worth looking into?