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Sharp Objects: A Novel Hardcover – September 26, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307341542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307341549
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,726 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As loyal Entertainment Weekly subscribers, we have been fans of Gillian Flynn for her smart, funny, and spot-on reviews of books, movies, and TV, but we were not prepared for her stunning debut novel Sharp Objects, a wickedly dark thriller that Stephen King calls a "relentlessly creepy family saga" and an "admirably nasty piece of work." We're calling it a cross between Twin Peaks and Secretary--sinister, sexy, and stylish. Perfect fall reading. --Daphne Durham


10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Gillian Flynn

Q: Do you prefer writing novels or reviewing?
A: I think writing is more pure--and actually a bit easier for me. It's just me and my laptop, not me and my laptop and a TV show that 30 people have worked on. Reviewing keeps you sharp--I can hardly watch or read anything without taking notes now--but plain old writing I find actually relaxing.

Q: Do think your writing is influenced more by books that you have read, or shows/movies that you have seen?
A: My mom spent her career as a reading teacher and my dad is a retired film professor, so I was really steeped in both books and movies growing up. To this day, when I get my dad on the phone, pretty much his first sentence is "Seen anything good lately?" I love putting words together (I've never met a simile I didn't like), but when I write I often think in "scenes"--I want these two people, in a dirty bar, with this song playing in the background.

Q: I hear you are working on your second book...is it is too early to ask what it's about?
A: I'm still playing around with the whole plot--when I wrote Sharp Objects, I wasn't even sure who the killer was for a bit. But I can say [the new book] has to do with family loyalty, false memories, a wrenching murder trial, and a dash of good 'ole 1980s hair metal and devil worship.

Q: What is your writing process like? Have you changed anything about how you work since your first book?
A: My writing process is incredibly inefficient, and hasn't changed between books. I really don't outline: I know basically how I want the story to start, and vaguely how I want it to end (though like I said, with Sharp Objects even that changed!). Then I just write: Some characters I start finding more interesting, some less. I write entire swaths that I pretty much know I'll cut. I have an entire file of "deleted scenes." I guess the one thing that has physically changed is I moved into a new place since my first book--it has a great bathtub, and I'll prop my laptop up and write in the bath for hours. Which is, admittedly, weird.


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.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
1,283
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851
3 star
362
2 star
150
1 star
81
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Popular Discussion Topics

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

349 of 368 people found the following review helpful By sb-lynn TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Summary, no spoilers.

This is the story of Camille Preaker, who works as a reporter for a newspaper in Chicago. She has been assigned to cover the story of a possible child serial killer in a small town in Missouri. She was given this story mainly because this small town happens to be her hometown.

We know that Camille is a physically beautiful, but very troubled young woman. We know that she does not want to go home, and throughout the course of this disturbing novel we find out why.

I found this to be a very interesting story, and a page-turner which is high compliment. This book does an excellent job of showing the repercussions of child abuse, and what life is like in a small town.

The only reason this book did not get 5 stars is the mystery aspect. I cannot say more without a spoiler, but I found that part of the resolution improbable for a variety of reasons.

Still, this is a suspenseful, *different* book, and I think that the character of Camille Preaker will stay with me for a long time. I would definitely give Gillian Flynn another try.
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146 of 160 people found the following review helpful By Rose McC. on October 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One gripe I have about most thrillers is that the plot is all-important, and the characters end up so dull -- interchangeable, really. Not so with Camille in Sharp Objects! She's an incredibly-flawed and fragile character who I'm sure will haunt me for a long time, and whom I'll be reminded of sometimes when I see a certain type of person on the street.

I found this book to be an emotional experience because the deeper I got into Camille's world and the more I learned her personal story, the more I realized that her discovery of who the murderer was would have the potential to absolutely destroy her -- and she's someone who, by all rights, really should have hit bottom by now.

A short, terse book you won't soon forget.
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121 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Joseph VINE VOICE on December 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When men fight, according to first novelist Gillian Flynn, they tend to bludgeon one another in blunt contests of strength, like good-natured warriors facing off in an athletic contest. Women fight in a much nastier fashion, she asserts, clawing, biting and using whatever other sharp objects are available to achieve domination over their female rivals. If you're willing to buy into Flynn's scathing portrayal of the so-called gentler sex, you'll surely be sucked into this dark mystery/thriller.

Camille Preaker, a reporter for an obscure Chicago newspaper, is assigned to investigate the recent murders of two young girls in her claustrophobic Missouri hometown. Besides overcoming the natural wariness the townsfolk exhibit toward a nosy journalist, Camille must face down her dysfunctional family - a controlling mother, distant step-father and a disturbed, thirteen-year-old step-sister whose catty group of friends makes the "Mean Girls" crowd look like a troup of Brownies. The closer Camille gets to cracking this grisly mystery, the harder she struggles to keep her horde of inner demons at bay and the more she begins to fear for her own safety.

If judged purely by the intensity of its suspense and page-turning quotient, "Sharp Objects" would easily merit five stars. Flynn taps into the psychological horror generated by a twisted family in a way that electrifies the narrative, reminding me of Dean Koontz in that regard. I had trouble, though, accepting the unlikely logistics behind the crimes and found certain characters to be so over-the-top as to strain credibility. These quibbles aside, Gillian Flynn already has mastered a fast-paced and hard-boiled writing style that's perfectly suited for the suspense genre, and she has created a fascinating heroine who could form the centerpiece for a winning series.

-Kevin Joseph, author of "The Champion Maker"
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Regina on December 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
I love a good psychological thriller with disturbingly flawed characters and this book did not disappoint. The main character is a woman struggling to make a life for herself, fleeing her childhood and really, fleeing her mother when she is sent back to her home town as an investigative reporter. She is tasked to report on the gruesome murders of two pre-teen girls, but in the process she gets put right back in the middle of her messed up family dynamics, her small town's social structure, and a potential romance.

Ms. Flynn nails perfectly small Midwest town life. A quote in her description of small town life,

"Like all rural towns, Wind Gap has an obsession with machinery. Most homes own a car and a half for every occupant, plus boats, Jet Skis, scooters, tractors, and among the elite of Wind Gap, golf cars, which younger kids without licenses use to whip around town."

Ms. Flynn makes some disturbing observations about parenting and family life - and ties them in to premature death:

As to the death of a young girl, "it's the only way to truly keep your child. Kids grow up, they forge more potent allegiances. They find a spouse or a lover. They will not be buried with you. The Keenes, however will remain the purest form of family. Underground."

The situations described in this book are exceptional, but she breaks the image of small rural life as being ideal. Terrifying violence and dysfunction lurks beneath the surface and I have to say, she nailed it in terms of describing my small rural home town. As Flynn writes, the idealic quality of small towns is false. A question is - should people go home once they have fled extreme unhappiness? Can they go home and survive it emotionally?
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