Whether you feel no shame in picking up the new James Patterson co-author title, or you only read select pieces of contemporary literary fiction, Gillian Flynn's third novel Gone Girl is a summertime read you will love. The fast-paced, un-put-down-able novel will grab you almost immediately--and it won't let go. If the setup--seemingly perfect married couple turns out not to be so perfect--sounds tired, let the superbly talented Flynn change your mind. Following husband Nick as wife Amy disappears under foul circumstances on the couple's fifth anniversary as well as Amy's diary entries from her first time meeting Nick through the five years of your marriage, Flynn's two first-person narrators have two distinct voices. As the investigation into Amy's disappearance continues, more and more of these two characters is revealed, making this crime novel part suspense thriller, part psychological exploration, part character study. The pages might as well turn themselves.
It's hard to talk about this novel's plot because the biggest shocker comes fairly early on. While many authors might save Flynn's big reveal for the end, this talented writer throws it in fairly early on, giving you more time to think about not just what happened, but what it means and how it affects the characters and their situations.
Any good piece of fiction should have something to say about the time it was created in, and Gillian Flynn definitely has some thoughts on contemporary crime culture. Through Nick's point of view, we see the kind of mob mentality that occurs with high-profile cases, and how crime journalists (a thinly-veiled Nancy Grace appears in the pages) have all but eliminated the idea of a fair trial. While we readers think Nick is not guilty, the evidence gathered against him tells a different tale. We want to trust him, but his unreliability is a factor to huge to ignore.
Bottom Line: Intense, exciting, well-crafted and addictive. I can't wait to read Flynn's first two novels, and I can't wait to see what she, like her characters, will do next. If you somehow haven't read it already, go read it now.
You can find Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl at your local chain bookstore, online, or at an independent bookstore near you (click here for a list). You can also download it to your Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iPad or other eBook reader.