SharpObjectsGillianFlynn45002_fOK, so where to start with this one? Sharp Objects is about a reporter, Camille, who is sent by her paper in Chicago to investigate the murder of one girl and the disappearance of another in her home town of Wind Gap, Missouri. Is a serial killer involved? How are the local police faring in their investigation? Is it a local or an outsider who is committing these crimes? All the usual questions that you would expect when death hits a small town.

And of course, all is not well in Camille’s life. She has a tragic past (death of her sister); to describe her relationship with her mother (with whom she is forced to stay during her trip) would be a gross understatement; and, well, to put it (incredibly) mildly, she doesn’t exactly have a history (or a present) of looking after herself.

And of course, the crimes may all be a lot closer to home than she thinks.

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this novel. There’s a very prominent endorsement from the great Stephen King (well, I think he’s great) on the back of the edition I read, where he talks about Sharp Objects as ‘relentlessly creepy’, ‘dreading the last thirty pages’ and so on. And in some ways he is right, it is creepy, the story does linger, it does have a cumulative nastiness factor. Whether you have any positive feelings about the characters or not (and some reviewers really don’t like the portrayal of women in this book) it is in many ways very powerful. But……

And I’m not sure what that but is. I felt a lot of sympathy towards Camille because of her awful childhood and what it had done to her both physically and mentally. But something went askew for me towards the end, and I think it’s because after a slow and relentless build up it was all suddenly over. There was a huge revelation (for Camille at any rate) all the pieces appeared to drop into place, and then there was a ‘Carrie’ ending (film not book so if you haven’t watched the Brian de Palma movie you might not know what I mean). And you knew it was coming, and if you had half a brain you knew what it was, and for all those reasons it was a bit unsatisfying. Which is a real shame.

This is absolutely by no means a bad book; I just think it could have been even better.

This was my first read for RIP IV.