Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
One-line review: Girl gone, be gone, bygones be bygones?
Review (minor spoilers): Amy goes missing on her fifth marriage anniversary, and as the police start investigating, suspicion begins to zero in on her husband, Nick. There are signs of a struggle in their house, overturned furniture that looks like it was overturned after the fact, broken glass, and later the police even find evidence of a sloppily cleaned-up blood stain in the house. Nick lies to the police, one lie after another, to cover up for the fact that his marriage with Amy had been on the rocks for some time. Things get worse when Nick's sister, Go (Margo), finds that he has also been having an affair with one of his students for over a year. Amy had, it seems, made one last attempt to resuscitate their marriage by leaving several clues in the form of letters, like she used to do, on the eve of their marriage anniversary. Nick figures these clues out, one after the other, but they bring him or the police no closer to cracking the case. Circumstantial evidence mounts and the rising evidence of a motive all point to Nick. Then there is the huge life insurance policy that would accrue to Nick in the event of Amy's death.
Nick is a writer who had been laid off and had moved from New York to a North Carthage - a small town in Missouri by the Mississippi River. Amy had not been too happy with the move. She had been a New York girl, daughter to parents who were the picture-perfect ideal of a loving couple and doting parents, and also the authors of a successful series of books titled "Amazing Amy".
The plot unfolds through two alternating first-person narratives - one is Nick's, and the other is Amy's, told through a diary she kept over the years. The diary tells of a doting husband who began to unravel as his career skidded off the rails. It tells of a loving wife increasingly scared of her husband.
As all good thrillers go, there is a major twist in the tale in this one also. While the ending will leave most people wanting to tear their hair out in frustration, the rest of the book proceeds at a fast clip, the plot unravels as the reader goes through the pages, and later the loose ends are begun to be tied up in the latter half. The characters are sharply etched, though not really fully fleshed out, and in some ways behave in predictable and mostly one-dimensional ways. In a short caper of this kind, perhaps more depth is not needed. Most of the props and characters that make an appearance in the novel are put to use later in the plot - a sine qua non for a good thriller.
A mostly enjoyable caper with a couple of twists in the tale make it a mostly satisfying read.
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ISBN-13: 978-0753827666, 9780307588364, 9780307588388 (e-book)