"He stopped once I pulled out my tape recorder and asked about the murders. Then it was those whirling wheels that had his full attention. People got such a charge from seeing their names in print. Proof of existence. I could picture a squabble of ghosts ripping through piles of newspapers. Pointing at a name on the page. See, there I am. I told you I lived. I told you I was."
Camille Preaker lives in Aurora Springs, Chicago and is a newspaper reporter for The Daily Post. The city's red-headed step-child of daily print media. She has seen herself getting undocumented promotions, but it is quite obvious as she finds herself covering more grizzly murders and fatal family disputes. They're either loving her work or trying to rid themselves of her. Whatever it is as long as the money's right all is good for Camille. On one normal day, whatever normal means anymore, she is called into her editor Frank Curry's office where she is designated as the primary reporter for a recent abduction/murder case of a ten year old child in her home town of Wind Gap, Missouri. Frank views it as an opportunity for her to recharge her batteries by resting and relaxation while covering a Pop. 2120 story. She doesn't see it the way he does, but she decides not to fight the assignment. It has been eight years since Camille has been back home, but what she can remember is that Wind Gap was a city where everyone knew each other's secrets and will use them for their own advantage, a city prone to misery, and a city where Camille didn't need an extended stay. Get in, get out, as fast as she can.
"I felt no particular allegiance to the town. This was the place my sister died, the place I started cutting myself. A town so suffocating and small, you tripped over people you hated every day. People who knew things about you. It's the kind of place that leaves a mark."
Wind Gap, Missouri is a small town with a five person police force and as one dead child turns into two, putting the natives on edge they quickly realize that they are ill-equipped and need some assistance. Camille is not receiving any gas, food, or lodging expense from the paper, she has no per diem or corporate account, she has to stay with her mother and her new family. Overbearing and controlling mother Adora, her subservient step-father Alan, and her precocious thirteen-year-old half-sister Amma are the modern family or in Camille's mind family #2. Cammie has never understood her mother's hypochondria, hunger for sympathy, her hiding of the past, and her overreaction for simple problems. Adora would go to the doctor for a paper cut, to Adora grieving was an addiction that she couldn't stop. Adora never understood Camille's disobedience, her willful, wild, smug, stubborn, and hateful attitude. She felt that Camille had a penchant for ugliness that afflicted the rest of the family. Alan doesn't understand why Camille continues to torment her loving mother. Camille can't believe that Alan is so blind. Amma can't believe that everyone in the home and after the murders the whole city is concerned about everyone else but her. As you can see, there is a minor disconnect within the Preaker family that's going to a take a little more than a trip to Daventry & Buster's to figure out. This story is a commentary of big city vs. small town living and family dynamics, where a person's presentation does not always show you everything they have in mind.
"Natalie was buried in the family plot, next to a gravestone that already bore her parents names. I know the wisdom, that no parents should see their child die, that such an event is like nature spun backward. But it's the only way to truly keep your child. Kids grow up, their 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."
There is something about the author's writing style and development of characters that really endear me to her but also pisses me off. In one sense her characters, especially her female leads, on the surface have a very strong disposition, a sense of self, as well as a heightened awareness of others. In the same breath her characters have a holier than thou, elitist point of view. The woman are typically not the stock characters that you would find in most novels in this genre. For the most part they are strong-willed and give the perception that they don't need protection from outside dangers, when you get to understand them a little better you realize that they have their vulnerabilities and for the most part are their own worst enemy. Maybe it's a case of my own "white knight complex" shining through, but I would like the characters to be a tad less hardened... just a tad. I also like the author's ability to tell it like it is with her take no prisoners approach. She often has me giggling to myself with a nefarious chuckle at things I probably shouldn't be amused by, but I am shocked and grateful that she went there. This book wasn't as great as Gone Girl, but it was still good none the less and reaffirmed my fandom. It is also why I fully expect to enjoy Gone Girl the movie especially given the fact that David Fincher will bring the anticipated darkness to light with all of the joy in a classic cat and mouse game. Both Gillian Flynn and David Fincher take you for a ride but don't expect to get out the way you came in. I would recommend Sharp Objects to anyone that loves Gillian Flynn. I would not recommend it to the faint of heart.
" 'Winter. No one likes winter.'
'It gets dark early, I like that.'
Because that means the day has ended. I like checking days off a calendar - 151 days crossed and nothing truly horrible has happened. 152 and the world isn't ruined. 153 and I haven't destroyed anyone. 154 and no one really hates me. Sometimes I think I won't ever feel safe until I can count my last days on one hand. Three more days to get through until I don't have to worry about life anymore.
'I just like the night.' "