Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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It’s been a while…but Camille Preaker has finally gone home.

Sent to investigate the disappearance of two little girls Camille finds herself reluctantly installed in the family mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and a precocious thirteen-year-old half sister she barely known. Haunted by a family tragedy, troubled by the disquieting grip her young sister has on the town, Camille struggles with the familiar need to be accepted.

But as clues turn into dead ends Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims and realises: she will have to unravel the puzzle of her own past if she’s going to survive this homecoming.

After I read Gone Girl at Christmas I knew I wanted to read Gillian Flynn’s other books, and Sharp Objects didn’t disappoint. Flynn certainly knows how to write gripping, twisted thrillers that leave you a bit speechless.

Sharp Objects is narrated by Camille Preaker, a journalist working in Chicago. She is originally from a small town, Wind Gap, in Missouri where her family still lives. Her editor, Frank Curry, asks her to return to her hometown to investigate a missing child case which could have a possible link to a murdered child a year earlier. Camille is reluctant but with Curry’s encouragement and she agrees to return home for the first time in eight years.

When Camille arrives at the family home you get the first taste of the unusual family relationships. She is treated like a guest by her mother, mostly ignored by her step father, and doesn’t even recognise her younger half-sister, Amma, until they are introduced.

Camille finds it difficult to be back in Wind Gap, surrounded by the people she went to school with, and all of her mother’s friends. The detectives working the cases she is investigating are not generous with the information they offer and so she has to go into the community and interview the families and neighbours of the two girls.

As Camille continues her investigation she becomes closer to Amma, who is not quite the angelic child that her parents think she is. She lives a wild life of boys, alcohol and drugs, away from home with her friends.The two sisters bond over their mutual dislike of their mother. Camille also gradually reveals the secrets of her past intense struggles with mental illness and she instability becomes more apparent the book progresses.

I don’t want to spoil the story too much so I won’t go into any detail about the ending, but I will say that not everything is as it appears. Flynn masterfully creates a small, claustrophobic community, a deeply troubled protagonist, and complex, disturbing family relationships. I’m looking forward to reading Dark Places and can only hope that it will be just as dark and twisted as Gone Girl and Sharp Objects.

4/5

Problems always start long before you really, really see them.

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