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review 2018-03-18 17:28
Review of Audio Book
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara,Gillian Flynn,Patton Oswalt

The term masterpiece is thrown around a bit too much when it comes to describing books, especially books that have been released in the past few years.  If it isn’t masterpiece, it’s groundbreaking.  The truth is that not many books live up to the hype and to describe them as masterpieces or groundbreaking weakens those adjectives.


                This book does live up to the hype.  It is truly a masterpiece, and even in its’ unfinished state rivals, if not bests, In Cold Blood. 


                I honesty don’t know why this book popped up on my radar.  I had never heard of the Golden State Killer (who started as a rapist).  It appeared on my tbr list around Christmas, and then when the positive reviews came in I used an Audible credit.  I hadn’t read McNamara’s blog, and I dimly remembered hearing about her death when it occurred (as well as the idiots who felt they had a right to tell a husband how long he had to stay a widower). 


                McNamara’s account of the killer’s crimes switches between her memoir and interest in crime.  Her writing has an incredible amount of life and pulse.   The sections detailing the crimes are chillingly told and read by Gabra Zackman.  Zackman’s voice shifts as she reads the memoir sections.         


                The investigation sections and chapters are well done, with that same wonderful writing tone.  McNamara not only discusses possibilities but also the development of science and DNA testing, things that allowed for break thorough. 


                Because she died before the book could be completed, there is, at times, a slightly uneven feel – this is particularly true towards the end of the book where a chapter is simply a transcribed audio.    It is too the credit of the editors who finished the book (McNamara’s researcher and a fellow reporter) that they keep themselves separated from the book.  They let McNamara speak for herself. 


                The book is also very touching, especially the afterward. 

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review 2018-03-18 03:33
Lorian Bartle's Review of Gone Girl
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

This book is a thriller that keeps the reader turning pages of an unpredictable plot until the conclusion.  Flynn tackles the subject of the delicate balance of marriage and what is takes to keep a relationship going long-term through inevitable ups and downs.  Highly recommended read for an original story.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-05 09:50
3/5: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn



Nick Dunne’s wife Amy goes missing on their fifth anniversary. And as revelations about their life come out, it looks like Nick might be the guilty party…

I did something unusual with this book: I didn’t read the teaser on the back (My wife never reads the teaser – she says it spoils the story too much for her, so I thought I’d give it a try). So I had no idea what this was about going in. None at all. I picked it up from a charity shop simply because I’d seen other people reading it on my Goodreads feeds, and I’d vaguely heard they’d made a movie about it.

During the first half, the narrative alternates between real-time Nick discovering Amy is missing and flashback diary entries from her. It’s a nice narrative split between the two of them, listening to their voices and slowly getting to know them.

It quickly becomes obvious that Nick is screwed down very, very tight and has quite a few self-worth problems and anger management issues, especially towards women. He unsurprisingly becomes prime suspect material, the reveal of which is paced quite slowly up to the middle of the book.

I didn’t believe that Nick, as angry as he is, murdered his wife at any point during the first half of the story. He seems smarter than the clumsy way the disappearance is organised, and his bemusement as to what’s going on seems genuine. But Nick admits he’s an unreliable narrator – the first time he talks to the police, he says he lied to them five times. So what is going on here? It’s the uncertainty that keeps the book moving through its slower first half. There’s a slow drip of revelations that keep things moving.

At halfway, the story rockets away into a new direction. There’s a bombshell, and what a bombshell it is: Suddenly we switch to Amy’s point of view, an Amy very much alive and very much running the show. The real Amy, not the one who wrote the fake diary we’ve been reading. And this woman is an out and out sociopath, with a steel trap of a mind to rival Hannibal Lecter. She operates and plans on levels so far above the rest of us that no one has a chance to keep up. She runs rings around the local police, the FBI and even the reader.

And what gleeful pleasure she takes in destroying Nick, of sending him to prison or even death for his transgression of taking a mistress. This is a revenge plan a year or more in the making. This is a not a woman you want to cross. Or even meet, for that matter. Nick has no chance. It’s like watching someone who runs for a bus trying to compete against an Olympic sprinter. All you can do is watch and wince as she carves Nick up.

At least at first she does. Amy has been extremely coddled her entire life, and it has its own pleasure to watch her struggle and fail in the real world and to have her backup plans fail. There are people out there crazier than her, it seems.

In the meantime, Nick has got her measure, and she eventually returns, believing him contrite and beaten. They try to outsmart each other, but after a few weeks of manoeuvring, she pulls a final rabbit from her hat: She’s pregnant and Nick decides to stay because of the child.

I read the ending yesterday, and then some reviews where they didn’t like it. The villain wins, after all. Nick is defeated because he wants to give his child a semblance of a normal life. He buckles under. It's unsatisfying. We want justice for the underdog.

Some said Nick should have been braver and stronger. In a sense I agree: Having encountered a few sociopaths in my life, I know the only winning move with them is not to play. The only path to take is away.

But then I was thinking about it again this morning. How many times has it been a woman who has buckled under because of their children? How many stay in loveless marriages – in and out of fiction – because of their child?

Does it take more courage to walk away and never see your children again, or to stay and tough it out? Which would you choose?

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review 2017-10-19 00:00
Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn Well, my original suspicion from somewhere around 25-30% was correct. I was hoping I was wrong and there would be some great twist, but it was still a well-told story.

I didn't love this book. I tried to read Gone Girl a few times and just couldn't get into it, but I decided to try this one anyway, because it fit a prompt for a read-a-thon I'm participating in this October. It's not a bad book or anything like that, I'm just not a much of a thriller-reader.

This was a tough book to get through, for me, because I found myself relating way too much to Camille. I had to put the book down a few times because of that. I liked Camille, Curry & Eileen, and John, but not really anyone else. I guess that's intentional and expected. There aren't really many likable characters in this book, which I actually liked. It's refreshing to read unlikable characters, especially women. It's a nice change from the overly-nice (whether false or natural) female characters who are basically doormats, living as they're "supposed to" because they're women. It's always interesting to me to read about women who don't fit in those boxes and actually seem like real people, flawed, rough-edged, etc.

I kept waiting for a big twist to come, but never got it. I guess Amma being the real killer of Natalie and Ann was supposed to be a surprise, but I suspected her from the first couple of chapters and was almost 100% certain it was her before I was a third of the way into the book.
I wasn't shocked at all about the Munchhausen by Proxy and Adora being responsible for Marian's death, and also poisoning Amma and Camille. I guess I was a little surprised by Adora being accused and arrested for Natalie & Ann's murders. She was my second suspect, but I thought the Amma-revealed-as-murderess "twist" was going to come out before Adora was arrested/accused for those murders. So, I guess it was a little surprising that Amma got away with it for so long.

Basically, it was pretty predictable from the very beginning, but still...saying it was a fun/enjoyable/entertaining read sounds wrong, but close enough. I don't know if I'll read any other Gillian Flynn books in the future, but this one was ok.
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review 2017-10-15 17:33
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

OMG!! So many twists and turns!! The characters were total train wrecks and utterly despicable, but I found that I couldn't stop reading!! You think you had it figured out, then BAM!, another twist. Hated the ending, though.

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