Release date: May 24, 2012
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
I don't usually go for mystery books, but since Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl has been topping charts and getting rave reviews I decided to give it a try. My experience has been an on and off affair: I got really into it when I started, then my excitement simmered down and I got distracted by other things, then I went back to it and after a few more chapters it blew my mind, then I was over it again... you get the drift. Still, I'm really glad I picked it up and finally finished it.
The set up is pretty simple: wife goes missing - did the husband kill her? Amy and Nick have been married for five years. Both laid off writers, they have had their ups and downs as a couple and money troubles have forced them to leave New York for Nick's hometown in Missouri. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary Amy disappears. Nick swears he had nothing to do with it, but his lack of alibi and suspicious behavior make him the focus of police investigation and a murder suspect. Where is Amy and did Nick have anything to do with her disappearance?
One thing I definitely loved about the book was the writing style. Presented as a double narrative, Gone Girl not only offers two different perspectives, but also exists in two different points in time: while Nick's chapters start with the day of disappearance, Amy's chapters start back when they first met and eventually reach Nick's timeline. I loved how different the voices of the two characters were - I had strong, but polar feelings towards both of them and half of the time they were based on the wording Gillian Flynn used to frame their thoughts. At one point I got so mad at one of the characters I actually used the highlighter tool on my iPad so I could read a few passages to my husband to illustrate why I hate the character.
As far as story development, I kept thinking I knew what was going on and kept being wrong. My lack of experience with mystery novels might have been the reason for this, but the book definitely kept me guessing. While there were some things I saw coming, there were twists I absolutely did not expect. If you're like me, don't let the first part of the book fool or discourage you - there is more to the story and once you get through the set up it gets really good. What infuriated me was the ending: after everything I found out the final turn had me thinking "Really? That's where we're going to go with this?!"
Overall I enjoyed Gone Girl very much, despite a few hiccups, and I think it deserves all the praise it got. After reading it I'm actually more interested in the genre than I was before and I would eventually like to read the other two books Gillian Flynn wrote. I will definitely be following this author's future work and I am curious to see the next novel she has in store for her readers.