This week I am posting a review for the Crime Fiction Alphabet.
The letter for this week is F, like in Flynn.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Shaye Arehart Books, New York, 2006
Borrowed from the library.
Camille Preaker is a struggling reporter for a second-rate newspaper in Chicago. In the small town of Wind Gay, following the murder of a young girl, another girl turns up missing. Wind Gap is Camille’s home town and her editor, thinking this opportunity might push her out of a rut, sends her to cover the story.
Camille is on edge, drinking too much and recovering from self-abuse. She finds herself back in her childhood home, pushed up against her bizarre mother, and a half sister who heads a gang of twelve-year-old girls that reminded me of every mean, bitchy girl I ever knew. All this brings up the remnants of her past life, her dysfunctional family relationships (her step dad is a piece of work) and the memories of a long dead sister. The longer Camille stays in town, the closer she comes to completely losing it, but she manages to hold it together long enough to sleep with the investigator from Kansas City and an eighteen-year-old suspect, and to get good and whacked with her creepy half-sister, Amma. Eventually she discovers the murderer.
There were times when I almost gave up on this one. This is Flynn’s first novel, very good in places and wobbly in others. She is an edgy, creepy writer who invests a lot of twisted energy in her protagonists. It didn’t take me long to figure out the murderer but I’m glad I stuck with it. Flynn is very good at diving beneath the surface and exposing human frailty and pain, she knows what drives us. This is a good introduction to a writer who will only get better with time.
I read her second novel, Dark Places and reviewed it here.