Book Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn
Crown. 2012 pp.415
I love a good mystery and I’m happy to read anything from the light witty work of Edmund Crispin all the way to the more disturbing serial-murder fare of Val McDermit. From Poirot to Rebus. I’ll read murder mysteries when I need to relax, or when I’m stressed and I used to be able to recognize a form of depression in myself by my appetite for this kind of fiction -- escapist and ultimately, satisfying with a resolution of the problem and light shone into dark corners.
Gone Girl is a twisty, dark and disturbing book. Told from the viewpoints of two narrators -- Amy, a wife who has gone missing on her fifth wedding anniversary and leaves behind her diary -- and Nick, her husband who is suspected of doing away with her. The two narrations don’t jibe, however, and Amy’s description of events and personalities seem at odds with Nick’s much more bitter account of their courtship and marriage. There are all kinds of indications of foul play, events that Nick can’t explain and everything points and points again to him as a murder. One’s sympathies are trifled with and things are not-so-obviously not what they appear to be ...
The characters of Nick and Amy are expertly drawn and their voices convincing. The plot has some wonderful twists and, on many levels, this is a hugely satisfying read.
The ending, though ... well, the ending is very frustrating. I will avoid spoilers here and simply say that, first of all, there were some gaping holes in forcing the plot to a non-resolution. And, secondly, that non-resolution is not what I look to mysteries for. I even resented it in Ian McEwen’s Atonement -- a hugely accomplished book but with an outrageous let-down at the end.
I had a look at reviews on Amazon, just to see what others might have thought. It seemed as if all of the one-star reviews quoted the ending as being the problem.
So, the writing is good, the characters strong and real, the plot is powerful -- and the ending sucks. It’s up to you.

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