Journalist Camille Preaker gets sent to her hometown of Wind Gap by her boss Frank Curry, much against her better judgment. There are strange things going on in the town. A little girl, Ann Nash, was kidnapped and murdered the previous August, and all her teeth were yanked from her mouth. Camille returns to investigate a new story for her paper, and has to go stay with her mother Adora Crellin for the duration. She revisits many old memories she has no use for. Another young girl, Natalie Keene, turns up strangled and missing her teeth, just like the previous little girl.
Camille has a half sister, Amma, who is spoiled, nasty, shallow, false and bitchy. She lives in their deceased sister’s shadow. Marian was always the favourite, though she died decades ago. Camille needs to prove herself back in Wind Gap. The desperate cutter she used to be, the one that was hospitalized and treated, needed to be firmly placed back in the box. She has to find out what the hell is going on, and starts to slowly dig away at family, friends, and the Kansas detective that was brought up to work the case, Richard Willis. Being a local of the town (even though she has moved away) does not make the task of getting people to talk one iota easier.
However, Camille realizes there is something truly wrong with her younger half sister… something that makes her somewhat sick and disturbed. She start paying closer attention to Amma and her actions, and Amma starts paying attention right back at her. The town is breaking Camille. What is going on around here? Who is responsible for the grotesque brutality visited on these two young girls? Camille’s investigation into the story brings her closer to Richard, but also closer to all the things she fled when she ran off to Chicago. Is she strong enough to beat survive the ghastly little town again?
I don’t know, I read so many rave reviews about Gillian Flynn’s writing, and I have heard what the stories should be about. Right up my alley, I would assume. But no. Everything is so messed up. It is like she glibly adds nasty scenes or inexplicable events to the book solely for shock value. If it contributed to the story in a more real way then it would be fine, but more often than not it is just thrown in haphazardly or just because. Everything is so melodramatic in this book, and unbelievable. Not in the good way, either. The writing style is also jarring, it does not really… flow, per se. It is also written with no real finesse. The self pity that permeates these pages drives me insane – I don’t really have time for people that don’t want to do something for themselves. Everything also feels rushed, and halfway through the book I still felt nothing was happening. It is like it had potential, but there was so much unbelievable crap stashed in it. I could not take Amma’s behaviour seriously at all, far too bizarre and all that. I think that the book’s setting was very depressing, not just the story, but how it was all written about. It had a very melancholy and overly miseralbe and disheartening feel, and that is not always nice. The book was also written first person, which is never really a winner for me unless you are writing an autobiography – it has other times it works, but more often than not it just doesn’t. There is no chemistry between the characters at all, nothing to relate to and get attached to. What a horrid book to work through, I was thoroughly underwhelmed. It irritated me at every word. Not the world’s worst book, it is readable, but something about it just didn’t gel with me.