I was a little late to the game on Flynn’s “Gone Girl,” but like many, I’m a huuuuge fan. I enjoy a good psychological thriller and was excited to dive in to this one. Luckily, a pal of mine said that in her opinion, this was her least favorite of Flynn’s books. This tempered my expectations and I am glad it did because I did not love this book.
This is a story of rural America in the 1980s, a failing farm, a slain family, and a sole survivor stumbling through her life as an adult in present day. It has all the makings of a compelling book and I was hooked and on board for the first 3/4. Flynn takes us back and forth from the 1980s to present, giving us a glimpse of the ill-fated family members. She gives a little back story and then slooowly tells the tale of the day you know the murders take place. You get a few hours of the past, then are jolted back to the present, where the cold case is being examined with fresh eyes by Libby, whose testimony put her brother Ben in prison for the murder of her family.
Rather than remind me of “Gone Girl,” I found this book to be very reminiscent of Paula Hawkins’ “Girl on the Train.” In both the reliability of the multiple narratives is suspect, and I was constantly going back and forth between choosing the “whodunnit.” In one moment, I was sure it was the girl on the train, in the next the husband. As that story unfolded, I was convinced it was one way, but then in the very next chapter I would change my mind. That was what happened also with this book, I went back and forth and excitedly listened on, as I was reading this via audio. I do recommend the audio version as each characters unique voice is done well, but I don’t really recommend this book.
Flynn does too much build up and the answers at the end are rather unsatisfying. I gave this book a 3 but I would give the first chunk a 5 and the last bit a 2 if I could. I’m going to read Flynn’s other books, because “Gone Girl” was that good, but I would skip this one and read “Girl on the Train” instead.