Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

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The book opens with Amy missing, the narrative switching between Nick, who is dealing with the aftermath, and diary entries from Amy leading up to the day of her disappearance.

As the plot progresses, Amy’s disappearance becomes more and more suspicious, and Nick inevitably becomes the focus for the local police’s attention, while he tries to balance public opinion and stay on good terms with Amy’s parents, a husband-and-wife team of children’s authors now fallen on hard times.

 

The first half of Gone Girl includes some of the most tense literature you will ever get to read. Gillian Flynn is masterly at ramping up the drama to painful, almost unreadable levels, perfectly to maximise a response from the reader.

 

Around halfway through, we find out what has really happened to Amy, or we think we do…. Some of the tension of the story is inevitably lost, but Flynn cleverly replaces it with a slow-drip revelation of the real mindsets and motivations of her key characters.

I can’t say any more about the plot without giving away too much.


Gillian Flynn is, without a doubt, at the front of the pack of American thriller writers. The characterisation, plot, dialogue, description and social commentary are all razor sharp, snappy and precise without being too stylistically so. This story of a love gone brutally wrong is a painful but utterly compulsive read.

Worth reading if you love a great thriller!

This story of a love gone brutally wrong is a painful but utterly compulsive read.

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