When The Chicago Post gets wind of the string of gruesome murders of young girls in reporter Camille Preaker's home town, Wind Gap, Missouri, Camille finds herself thrown back into a place that she had taken pains to escape from. A story riddled with toxic family relationships, deceit, and corruption, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn follows Camille as she navigates through her life as a reporter and a former citizen of Wind Gap, a "crummy town prone to misery" where the people are either "old money or trash." Hoping to break the story within several days and head back to safety of her lifestyle in Chicago, Camille is yet to understand just how closely the murders and her haunting past are intertwined.
Without giving away too much, what really made Sharp Objects stand out were its characters--biting, fleshed-out portraits of individuals with dark backgrounds and secrets of their own. In time, the sweet, town matriarch--who happens to be Camille's mother--devolves into a hypochondriac consumed by the burden of her younger daughter's death, and the overt, coquettish step-sister, Amma, grows chilling and unusually perceptive over the course of the novel. As Camille grapples between the roles she had abandoned (daughter and much older step-sister), her journey of recovering the details of her past are paralleled alongside the increasing tension and overwhelming clarity that the murders of the girls begin to reveal to her.
Personally, seeing that this was Flynn's debut novel was a stunning find. Sharp Objects is a beast in its own form, tackling heavy issues while grappling the core attributes of unacknowledged pain and dysfunction. Flynn writes so well that this tense, irresistible thriller hardly remains a story in its own right. It is now a world of its own, and shapes up to be a tale of remarkable dexterity and suspense, stripped of cliché and crafted so skillfully that one cannot help but be disturbed...and perhaps kept up for the next three nights.
Give it a read, and let me know what you think!