Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn

Shelf Indulgence

I first read Sharp Objects in 2007; Gillian Flynn was an unknown, and Sharp Objects was her debut. The book was shortlisted for three CWA Dagger awards in the same year, and deservedly won two. This Shelf Indulgence review gives a hint as to why.

When two girls are abducted and killed in Missouri, journalist Camille Preaker is sent back to her hometown to report on the crimes. Camille is a writer on so many levels. Words have a visceral effect on her: they flare, buzz, itch, scream. She escaped the small-town hell of Wind Gap, but returns to report on the disappearance of a child, and is sent spiralling back into the harrowing events of her own loveless childhood. Camille calls herself ‘trash – from old money’, and her mother is manipulative, damaged and needy. Adora (never ‘Mom’), is appropriately named; it’s what she demands – total adoration. She has made a monster of Camille’s half-sister, the preening, sexually precocious child of Adora’s second marriage. The mystery of the girls’ disappearances is inextricably linked to Camille, who must unravel the secrets of her childhood while averting the disintegration of her own personality. The wonderful balance of wit and creepy suspense in Sharp Objects will make you dread turning the page yet compel you to read on.

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