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Sharp Objects: A Novel [Paperback]

Gillian Flynn
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 31 2007


Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

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Sharp Objects: A Novel + Dark Places: A Novel + Gone Girl: A Novel
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Flynn gives new meaning to the term "dysfunctional family" in her chilling debut thriller. Camille Preaker, once institutionalized for youthful self-mutilation, now works for a third-rung Chicago newspaper. When a young girl is murdered and mutilated and another disappears in Camille's hometown of Wind Gap, Mo., her editor, eager for a scoop, sends her there for a human-interest story. Though the police, including Richard Willis, a profiler from Kansas City, Mo., say they suspect a transient, Camille thinks the killer is local. Interviewing old acquaintances and newcomers, she relives her disturbed childhood, gradually uncovering family secrets as gruesome as the scars beneath her clothing. The horror creeps up slowly, with Flynn misdirecting the reader until the shocking, dreadful and memorable double ending. She writes fluidly of smalltown America, though many characters are clichés hiding secrets. Flynn, the lead TV critic for Entertainment Weekly, has already garnered blurbs from Stephen King and Harlan Coben. 5-city author tour; foreign rights sold in 10 countries. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

This impressive debut novel is fueled by stylish writing and compelling portraits of desperate housewives, southern style. Troubled newspaper reporter Camille Preaker is sent back to her Missouri hometown in a bid to get the inside scoop on the murders of two preteen girls--both were strangled and had their teeth removed. Almost as nasty as the brutal crimes are Camille's twisted family dynamics. She intends to stay with her zombielike mother, whom she has hardly spoken to in 8 years; her cipher of a stepfather; and her twisted, overly precocious 13-year-old half sister. Wading back into the insular social dynamics of the town proves to be a stressful experience for Camille, a reformed cutter whose body is riddled with the scars of words such as wicked and cupcake. In a particularly seductive narrative style, Flynn adopts the cynical, knowing patter of a weary reporter, but it is her portraits of the town's backstabbing, social-climbing, bored, and bitchy females that provoke her sharpest and most entertaining writing. A stylish turn on dark crimes and even darker psyches. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A STUNNING DEBUT WITH TOPNOTCH NARRATION Oct. 10 2006
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Exciting, promising, can't-put-it-down debut novels are hard to find - with Gillian Flynn's "Sharp Objects," it seems we've found one more to add to that all too brief list. It's a stunning story, tightly crafted, and appropriately chilling.

Now a reporter for a class C Chicago newspaper, Camille Preaker is a survivor. Her recent past includes a stay in a psychiatric hospital where she was treated for various disorders, including self-mutilation. At the age of 13 she carved "queasy" around her stomach and at 29 "vanish" on her neck. Troubled? In spades.

However, it looks like she may get a break as she's assigned to cover what is probably a serial killer story. On the downside is the fact that the scene of the crime is her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, a place she left some eight years ago. She doesn't want to return but the thought of a career making yarn is too tempting and off she goes, back to an old house that holds unhappy memories and a mother who gives new meaning to neurotic.

Two young girls have been murdered, and the local police seem to think a transient is responsible. A handsome profiler from Kansas City doesn't think the answer is as easy as that. Throughout the investigation Camille is forced to relive childhood trauma and confront ghosts that have haunted her through the years.

Those who enjoy psychological thrillers will have found a winner in "Sharp Objects," especially as read by actress Ann Marie Lee. Well remembered for her stage and television performances, she inhabits Camille's persona with nuance and modulation. As the climax approaches we find ourselves listening even more intently as Lee's voice builds, leading the way.

- Gail Cooke
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read Dec 25 2012
By Annette
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure what to expect but I liked Gone Girl by the same author. This book was just about as good. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Gillian Flynn!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark & Beautiful Dec 4 2012
There are few novels that are able to strike the right balance between dark and compelling, but author Gillian Flynn does in this story. I read it in one day, which is unusual for me, and enjoyed it much more than her more recent "Gone Girl". She's a wonderful story teller and doesn't shy away from creating characters that have their own dark side. It's heartbreaking at times, but well worth the read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Surprise Ending! July 29 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not as well written as her latest novel, Gone Girl, but well worth a read. Never a dull moment (pardon the pun)! Liked how the plot twisted and turned and not being able to figure out who dunnit til the end! Bravo Gillian!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Gillian let me down June 29 2014
By sandra
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have liked her books BUT not this one! This is a story of a person cutting themselves.And I can honestly say I do not understand that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent read by Gillian Flynn! May 26 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A dark and grotesque read, yet totally and entirely captivating. I could not wait to get to the end and could not take my eyes away... in the same way you cannot take your eyes off of accidents on the highway. Gillian Flynn has a truly special gift.
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4.0 out of 5 stars decent story line April 1 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This had an ending I didn't see coming. I thought I had it all figured out, but there is an intriguing twist at the end.
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1.0 out of 5 stars dusturbing Feb. 9 2014
By Penny
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After reading and greatly enjoying Gone Girl I couldn't wait to read other books by this author. Sharp Objects was a huge disappointment. Found it unrealistic that so many characters in a small town could be so mentally disturbed. The main character was emotionally scarred from her childhood, yet I could not feel any compassion towards her or her sister. They just appeared as extremely dark, evil, needy individuals. There were lots of characters mentioned in the book that seemed to have no bearing on the story and just led to confusion. The story was a bit disjointed and I had hoped for a more dramatic ending - you could see what was coming a mile away. One of the worst books I have read this year. It is sinister and very very dark.
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