Gillian Flynn’s wildly popular novel does pull the reader right into the psychological mystery of the disappearance of Amy Dunne on her 5th wedding anniversary. Did Amy runaway? Did her husband, Nick, kill her? Did one of her stalkers kidnap or kill her? As the inspiration of a wildly successful children series, Amazing Amy, Amy has had a number of stalkers during childhood and adulthood or has she? Switching narrators between Amy’s diary and Nick’s thoughts and conversations with the police, his in-laws and his twin sister, Margo, the reader is led on a series of events that slowly unwind into a tangled, twisted web. Nick is definitely not husband of the year material either. Pushed by Amy’s doting parents and her best friend, that Nick didn’t even know Amy had, the police follow the winding trail of clues back to Nick. But is he the real killer? And if he didn’t kill her, where is Amy?
Though the writing is quick and clever and the mystery definitely sustains your interest some of the author’s details are out of whack. There really is a town of Carthage, Missouri, but it is on the opposite side of the state from St. Louis and it is not a river town. The Mississippi River features prominently in the story as do St. Louis and Hannibal and their proximity to “Carthage” is important in the plot. The Ozarks are described as flat land, while the region is well known for it’s hills and valleys. If you enjoy details of the setting of a story and know this and also know that the author is from Missouri, which I did, these repeated inconsistencies are grating. Also, the authors description of people who live in the Midwest is far from complimentary. Most of these descriptions do come from Amy, who loves her previous life in New York City and did not want to move to Missouri, but even general descriptions aren’t kind. As a well-educated and life-long resident of Missouri, who does not consider herself in any way a “hick” this grew very tiresome too.
For me the conclusion was also very unsatisfying. I didn’t guess what was going to happen, which is usually a plus for me. The more mysteries I read the harder it is for an author to surprise me, but what does happen was so upsetting to me that it totally ruined the surprise factor for me.