Gillian Flynn has a reputation for unexpected plot twists, unreliable narrators and surprising characters as in her runaway best seller Gone Girl. In Sharp Objects, (now a HBO series) which was written prior to Gone Girl, Flynn shows she was a master in creating complicated and unique characters and thrilling plot twists from the very beginning.
Camille Parker’s editor has assigned her the plum job of reporting on the investigation into the two murders of two young girls. Normally Camille would have jumped at the chance to do some really good investigative reporting. But covering the story also meant returning to her hometown in rural Missouri where her controlling hypochondriac mother and her 13 year old step sister that she barely knows live. Further complicating matters, Camille has just been discharged from a short stay in the psych ward, and is still feeling a bit vulnerable and unsteady. Yet this is a chance most reporters look for all their lives, and Camille is hopeful that the murders might be solved quickly, allowing her to write an award winning story while still limitting her contact with her dysfunctional family.
Once she arrives in her hometown however, Camille realizes that her hopes of a quick resolution are unlikely to come true. The police have no suspects and even the FBI agent who is helping with the investigation seems stymied. As Camille interviews the victims’ families and tries to pump the FBI agent for information, she too becomes frustrated by the lack of any leads or motives for their murders. Instead of making progress on the story, Camille finds that she is sinking into old patterns with her neurotic mother and begins to notice that her sister is deeply affected by her mother’s hypochondria and controlling behavior. Trying to support and bond with this sister that she barely knows, Camille begins to notice that despite her age, her sister exerts a strange hold on many of the kids in her school. As her stay in her hometown grows longer, Camille begins to feel her hold on reality is slipping as she struggles to understand the complicated motives behind the murders and her complicated relationship with her mother and stepsister. As she struggles to hold it together, Camille begins to understand that her past may provide answers to the present, if she just has the strength to face her deepest fears.
In Camille we have both a tragic and courageous character, an unreliable and yet fully truthful narrator. Flynn combines this with a truly harrowing and twisty plot line and the result is a pulse pounding, non stop thriller!
Brenda’s Rating: ****(4 out of 5 Stars)
Recommend this book to: Sharon, Marian, Lauren and Keith
Book Study Worthy? Yes!
Read in ebook format.