Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

gone-girl Nick and Amy, married for five years, have been forced by circumstance to leave their gilded life in New York: job loss results in a downshift to small-town Missouri. But things are still fine with these thirtysomethings: handsome Nick is back – to look after his ill parents – in the town where he grew up, while beautiful Amy – the inspiration for her own loving parents’ bestselling Amazing Amy children’s books – has a trust fund and is so in love with Nick that she is happy to make a different life for herself as long as she’s with him. But then…just like that, Amy disappears. There are traces of blood in the kitchen and signs of a bitter struggle in the living room. Nick can’t account for his movements and doesn’t look too cut up about losing his beloved wife to a potentially grisly fate. The police say they have a number of leads but that is not strictly true, particularly when clues implicating the husband start piling up: odd internet searches, unexplained credit card debts, his wife’s bumped-up life insurance and much, much worse.  Things look, it must be said, rather bad for Nick. Lying, feckless, shallow Nick. And (as Amy’s diary entries over several years make clear) violent, unpleasant, frightening Nick. And Nick has two mobile phones, one of which he rarely answers despite the frequent calls it receives. People aren’t yet openly saying he’s killed the lovely Amy, of course, but there are whispers…I have no idea if platinum-edged sociopaths actually exist, but they make wonderful characters. It may be bad form to cheer as one hapless dupe after another is used and discarded, but when it’s this wittily done – and when it demonstrates such staggering, clear-eyed resolve – it is a not-particularly-guilty pleasure to do so. But even the best plans can falter…This is a tidily-plotted book, and Gillian Flynn has a truly impressive command of the voice of her characters, tweaking the split narratives to produce a few terrific rug-from-under-you moments. Flynn herself has written the inevitable film, and says there is going to be a different Hollywood ending. It had better be good because this one has a chilly, satisfying logic to it.

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