I read Gone Girl before the hype, and I want full credit for the discovery! Amazingly, I did not review it at the time. (I don’t always review everything I read, mostly due to time constraints.) So, no proof. Sigh. Reading Gillian Flynn’s twisty novel of suspense was perhaps even more enjoyable the second time around. It was a bit like seeing The Sixth Sense for the second time – you don’t get the shock (What? You mean Bruce Willis has been dead all along?) but you do get the fun of seeing how well the movie is put together. And Ms. Flynn has done a bang-up job putting Gone Girl together.
Here’s the premise: Nick Dunne and his wife Amy are madly in love. They’re happy with their bookish life in Manhattan, but tragedy strikes in the form of job loss for the couple and a fatal illness for Nick’s mom, so they head back home to Missouri, where Amy invests the last of her trust fund in a bar for Nick and his twin, Margo, to run. Then Amy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, and all indicators point to a kidnapping. Or do they? The reader begins to suspect that Nick has killed his wife. And so do the cops. Even faithful sister Margo has her moment of suspicion. But no! Nick’s a self-centered jerk, no doubt about it, but not a killer. So what’s up?
For those who have somehow not heard the secret to Gone Girl, Amy’s not dead. In fact, she’s a conniving psychopath. She knows Nick is having an affair, and she wants to punish him. Her plan: to set Nick up for “murdering” her, even going so far as to kill herself in a way that makes determining the time of death difficult, so that the discovery of her body removes all reasonable doubt. Not surprisingly, the suicide plan falls by the wayside. And, as she intends, Nick realizes he’s been set up. He feels the jaws of the trap. But knowing her as well as he does, he is able to manipulate her into coming home. All is well! Not. For just as he looks forward to leaving the marriage, Amy schemes to tie him to her even more tightly. How? A baby.
Needless to say, the plot is killer and the characters are extremely compelling, including sister Margo, Amy’s parents, whacky hottie/paramour Andie, and especially Nick’s crafty lawyer. In the final pages, you shudder for Nick and Amy’s unborn baby. Gone Girl has taken the lead in the race for the MWA Edgar for Best Novel. Also, I’m totally going to see this movie.
MWA Edgar for Best Novel rankings: