Sharp Objects is Gillian Flynn’s first novel, but the third I read. In Dark Places, Flynn deals with a family torn apart by murder. In Sharp Objects, its murder that brings Camille Preaker back to her small Missouri town. Her tiny Chicago paper sends her to her hometown to investigate the disappearance and death of two young girls. Camille Preaker uses alcohol to get herself ready to face the family she has not seem in years, but will it be enough? Camille, recently discarded from a psych ward for the cutting she does to herself, immerses herself in the crime investigation while dealing with her mother, a hypochondriac and the town heiress of sorts, and her dual-personalitied, much younger sister.
The town of Wind Gap is terrified that someone is after their children and suspect an out of towner, but Camille’s gut tells her this small town keeps its secrets and murderers close. This is an intense novel with all the main characters having very deep psychological conditions worthy of commitment.
Flynn shows the relationship between the residents of Wind Gap and how the rich function in a different world that the workers of her family’s pig processing plant. I loved the detail that the local bars always served chicken, not pork and after the description of the pig processing plant, I can understand why.
If I had read this novel first, I might feel different about Flynn’s debut novel, but I did not think this demonstrated the same level of authorship as her other novels. The characterization was great, but the story felt a little transparent or forced near the end, unlike how I felt about the other novels. But Gillian Flynn has only written 3 novels and I’ve loved every single one, so even with that, I think she’s a phenomenal crime/horror writer.
Read March 2014