A Look At …Gillian Flynn - Dark Streets
One of the most popular suspense authors today is Gillian Flynn.
Gillian was born and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. From there she went onto university at the University of Kansas. She has received her Master's degree from Northwestern University.
Did you know that Gillian first wanted to be a police reporter? With that career choice it’s not a fluke that in Sharp Objects that her character Camille is a journalist.
Between 2006 and 2012 Gillian published three novels, Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl.
Let’s take a look at them!
Sharp Objects: This book takes place in small town Missouri. Camille Preaker has returned to her hometown from big city Chicago. She’s there to cover an investigation as a journalist.
Camille Preaker works as a journalist at a small and rather un-prestigious newspaper. Her job isn't always particularly satisfying, as she often has to report on stories about human neglect and crimes such as murder. Camille gets along somewhat well with her boss Curry, who supported her during a recent hospitalization due to self-harm, as Camille has carved several words onto her body- each of which has its own meaning. When he asks her to return to her home town of Wind Gap to cover the murder of one preteen girl and the disappearance of another, Camille initially refuses. Curry perseveres and eventually persuades her to take the story.
As Camille continues to investigate, she begins a sexual relationship with Detective Richard Willis, but conflict arises when she learns he suspects her mother of the murders. More twists and turns ensue, and you;’ll have to read the book to find out just how it ends!
Gillian followed up Sharp Objects with another thriller, Dark Places. In this book we have Libby Day who is investigating if her brother’s case. He’s been incarcerated for the murder of a family.
I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.
The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.
As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.
In 2012 Gillian Flynn released her most well know title, Gone Girl. This book revolves around Nick Dunne and readers are made to wonder if he killed his wife.
Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn, takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. As The Washington Post proclaimed, her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit with deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
What makes this novel unique in my opinion, is that the first half or so of the book is told in first person, alternately, by both Nick and Amy; Nick's perspective is from the present, and Amy's from the past by way of journal entries. The two stories are very different. Amy's account of their marriage makes her seem happier and easier to live with than Nick depicts. Nick's story, on the other hand, talks about her as extremely anti-social and stubborn. Amy's depiction makes Nick seem a lot more aggressive than he says he is in his story.
There are incredible revelations in the second half of the book, which I won’t go into here, because it would be a big SPOILER ALERT! Suffice it to say you will be amazed at the ending! I was.
For pure suspense, there’s none better than Gillian Flynn. I can’t wait for her next book! If you haven’t tried her yet, you should – you’re missing out on a whirlwind ride!
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She lists among her favorite mystery/suspense writers Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, as well as EJ Copperman, Steve Hockensmith, Victoria Laurie, Ali Brandon, Rita Mae Brown, Miranda James and Sofie Kelly to name only a few! Toni is also passionate about her love for animals, as demonstrated with her four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and, of course, ROCCO, who not only provided the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat in the Nick and Nora mystery series, but who also writes his own blog and does charity work for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read! Toni’s also devoted to miniseries like The Thorn Birds, Dancing with the Stars, reruns of Murder She Wrote and Castle (of course!). She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuts Dec. 2, 2014. She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Find them at: www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or at www.tclotempio.com