Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: Intriguing, cloying, unnerving. Gillian Flynn may have to rethink her day-job as a TV critic as her debut novel receives high praise from Stephen King and Harlan Coben.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: January 2007
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
ISBN: 978-0297851523

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Wind Gap, Missouri is a Small Town in America and Small Town America can be a scary place. It's a place where, for those who do not escape into the wider world, nothing changes and the roles people played in High School are acted out through adulthood. There remain the cliques of the popular and those that never made it into the elite, the unwanted; the ostracized; those that will always be in the shadow of the Prom Queen and her friends.

Camille Preaker is one of the lucky few; fugitive from the clutches of her volatile, hypochondriac mother and escaping the constraints of small-town life, she has found herself working as a junior reporter on a second-rate, low circulation Chicago newspaper. So when a child vanishes in Wind Gap, to be later found, mutilated and murdered and worse, linked to the discovery of a second child, slain and altered in the same way, Camille's editor decides that she is the perfect person to go and investigate; to score a scoop that will lift the readership of the Paper.

Camille will quickly realise that when something as terrifying as serial child murder happens in a small place like Wind Gap, the dynamic of its population is changed for ever.

With great trepidation, Camille returns to Wind Gap; to the home of her wealthy family, the town's biggest employer and most revered residents. She is almost immediately transported back to an unhappier time; a childhood where her sister is sick and dying; a place where the only way Camille can cope with her misery is to incise words into her young flesh.

Camille's voyage of discovery is hampered by the residents, her former townsfolk, who are distrustful of her motives for returning, her own unravelling heavily-medicated psychology and by her impromptu and largely inappropriate personal relationship with the Chicago city detective who has been drafted in to solve the case.

The revelation that Camille is a self-harmer or "cutter", as the book words it was quite shocking on its own, but it goes such a long way to explicate the psyche of our heroine and the traumas of her upbringing that the reader almost believes such a turn in the tale is necessary.

The characters, throughout are human, believable, gritty, suspicious and wary, ready to turn on each other in an almost feral way in order to protect themselves and their families; so pretty much exactly what you would expect to find in a town where its children are being maimed and slaughtered. In particular, Flynn has drawn the mother as a weak, despicable creature, yet who is capable of the kinds of plausible mental torture you rarely read in good fiction. I wanted to hold this character's head underwater for an hour or so, such was Flynn's influence over me.

In summary, this novel is unsettling and forbidding and so much more than a "Whodunnit?" as it has depth, sensitivity and soul. It sits quite squarely in the crime/thriller genre but what we learn about people throughout the story takes this tale to another level. I very much enjoyed reading it and was thoroughly transported for the duration.

I will be keeping an eye out for Ms Flynn's next offering for sure.

Read this if you like Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen novels ( Dead Lagoon and Cabal) as the twisty plots are reminiscent. You may have enjoyed Donna Leon's Fatal Remedies and if this is more your bag, then you should probably give Sharp Objects a try. We think you'll also enjoy The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin.

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Buy Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn at


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sexymermaid03 said:

i agree totally with Kerry King!

this totally transported and at times i even felt i was Camille her writing was that powerful. I myself want to write a book someday and i can only wish to be half as good as Flynn.

the review was perfectly true too.

i am doing a review at school (I'm 15) on sharp objects and am happy to say you have helped me :) haha yours sincerely, meggz