I’m going to go ahead and say it, this was better than Gone Girl. There, now let’s get on to my actual thoughts on this novel.
As with the few Harlan Coben novels I’ve read and even the few J.K. Rowling Cormoran Strike novels I have to ask WTF these people eat/drink/smoke to make them come up with these stories! I know a lot of them are based on some evidence of truth, but really some of these, especially this one, are some dark dark stories.
I had very little expectations going into this one as it’s been sitting on my shelf for a little over two years. I purchased it just after finishing Gone Girl and after I realized a little later that I wasn’t as much of a fan as it seemed everyone else was of that one, I put off reading this one and I’m a little disappointed I did so. There were enough differences between the two and this one I just liked more because I guess it was less psychological and more murder mystery.
I am glad I’ve continued yet another streak of mine of not reading the back cover before I pick up a book to read it. I was caught off guard by the subject matter (a murdered family and the ensuing whodunnit search many years later) and had to go read the back cover to see what in the hell I was reading.
Like I said above I think I enjoyed this novel so much better than Gone Girl because it was less of a psychological thriller than more of a traditional whodunnit. There are a couple of red herrings, but I also figured out roughly 3/4 of the whodunnit before I got to the final few pages when all was revealed. As with most of these novels I felt the ending was a little to tidy and a little too rushed, but what can you do.
I also absolutely liked the ornery Libby Day as a protagonist much more than I liked either of the protagonists in Gone Girl. Maybe it’s not fair to compare them so much, but what else can you do but compare to something else similar. I also actually really enjoyed reading this right after Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye, because even though they’re in no way related they actually had a pretty similar structure in that they jumped back and forth from modern-day to flashbacks. Both Atwood and Flynn did a good job using this literary device to their advantage.
Recommendation: If you want a fast page turning whodunnit then this is one I would recommend this one. I’m not sure where this would rank compared to the Harlan Coben novels I’ve read when it comes to readability and general OMG yesness, but it’s made me sort of want to check out her last novel Sharp Objects.
Opening Line: “I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.”
Closing Line: “I just wanted to be some woman, heading back home to Over That Way.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)