Camille Preaker was just 13 when her sister died and she began struggling with her grief. Fueled by the devastating loss of her sister, Camille began carving words into her flesh, eventually covering every exposed inch of her body. Ten years later, Camille is a now a journalist for a washed out newspaper and is sent to her hometown to report on the unsolved murders of two young girls. Camille is soon caught up in the happenings of her home town. She has to deal with the twisted half sister she barely know, a mom who doesn’t love her, and a town that is torn apart by a serial murder. Camille gets dragged into the murder investigation and struggles with her own demons that force her to take a blade to her skin.
I have read other books by Gillian Flynn and absolutely loved them. Gone Girl and Dark Places blew my mind. However, this one was lacking something for me. I was disappointed that I figured out who the murderer was fairly early on in the book and for me that meant that the fun of the book was over. I felt like Camille was a boring character and she had no energy to bring to the table to propel the story forward. I found myself fascinated with her family and the way that they interacted, so much that I was skimming over parts to see what other twisted shit her sister was going to do or say. I didn’t like how slow the investigation was, or how many clues were not given, but it was still obvious as to who the killer was.
I went into this book, knowing that the topic of cutting and self harm played a role. Having said that, I was very surprised how well done that aspect of the book was. Camille explained her cutting urges and her rehabilitation journey, which I thought was a critical element of Camille’s development. I appreciated the fact that many questions of the role of women were brought up and the ideas that a woman can do just as much harm to a child as a man, and that was a very nice change indeed.
Overall, I am glad that I picked this book up, if only to get another glimpse of what kind of writer Gillian Flynn is. This book is a definite psychological thriller and is not a happy story. It plays on a lot of dark elements a town with a lot of secrets, so if you are looking for a happy-go-lucky book, this one is not for you.