SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn’s stories beckon readers the way a bottle of vodka calls an alcoholic.  It’s impossible to read just one book, chapter or sentence. I don’t know what I will do after I finish Dark Places—set up a calendar and mark off the days until her next release, I guess.

An author’s debut often reveals only the bud of style, a wisp of the signature themes that will be tattooed upon future pages and a voice fresh from the cocoon. Flynn’s Sharp Objects is not such a debut. Gillian Flynn sprung into the literary world like Athena out of Zeus’s head, fully formed and ready for battle.

At first the edginess of Sharp Objects stood in such contrast to Gone Girl, without the author’s name on the covers I would’ve sworn the books were written by two different writers. But once immersed I recognized the exquisite execution of certain shared elements: the need for characters to manipulate, the eavesdropping quality of dialogue, and how characters say what people in real life only say when they think no one else is listening.

Sharp Objects is all about what reporter Camille Preaker does not want to know when she returns to her hometown to follow a murder investigation. Flynn’s ability to thrust a damaged character back into the belly of the beast and increase the voltage is a prime example of no fear writing.

The payoff for the reader is sleepless nights from either staying up to finish or an inability to fall asleep once all the gruesome details are consumed.

Gillian Flynn’s debut exposes more than the behavioral inbreeding of small town life and the unhealthy hold some parents have over their children. She leaves her characters raw, desperate and wondering, always wondering whether they have or will choose wisely.

Prepare to protect your heart from Sharp Objects.