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Sharp Objects cover

For Halloween, I read a gripping mystery/thriller that’s not for the squeamish.

If you got a jolt of WOW from reading Gone Girl, you are in for an intense, enigma-drenched, shock-loaded, secret-packed page-turner.

This treacherous tale is driven by a pack of mean girls on steroids, and the twists and turns will have you guessing all the way to the blood-pressure-through-the-roof ending. I mean, holy cow!

Phew. Now if that intro didn’t pull your reading curiosity to click over and reserve a copy of this baby, read on.

Meet Camille Preaker, a 30-something woman with a face that could have launched her into magazine cover stardom. Instead she chose the life of a Chicago newspaper reporter with a focus on crime. Really gruesome crime. The kind that sells papers. The kind you read with the lights on. That kind.

Camille grew up in the small town of Wind Gap, Mo., and it is there she is sent by her hard-drinking, chain-smoking editor boss to cover a murder. A little girl was strangled and now another is missing.

This particular town is not only where Camille grew up, it’s where her younger sister Marian died. It’s also where her beyond-belief-rich mother still lives and it’s there that this story really rocks. And rolls.

Camille has an issue, a problem, a mental condition. I’ll let her tell you:

“I am a cutter, you see … My skin screams. It’s covered with words—cook, cupcake, kitty, curls—as if a knife-wielding first-grader learned to write on my flesh … Sometimes I can hear the words squabbling at each other across my body.”

I know. Totally bizarre, right? But can you imagine a better protagonist unraveling a mystery where she grew up along with all those words carved across her body and all that history in that small troubled little town? And it gets far more intriguing. Camille has a step-sister, Amma, who is only 13, but beyond beautiful and much more dangerous than any sweet little spoiled rich girl ought to be. And then there is the mother. Adora. You just can’t even imagine.

Author Gillian Flynn has a razor-sharp snap with every word she chose. Her metaphors will blow you away and the dialog hits you square in the eye. Underneath the clever turn of words her journalistic background allows her to root out the motivations of the horrible things we do to one another and somehow give them justification.

This is perhaps her greatest triumph as a writer. The ending, though a huge relief when it hits, left me a little slumped with disappointment in my chair. Then I learned this book is now a short series movie and I really am not sure I could relive this crazy story. Then again, why not?

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Jay Gilbertson is the Wisconsin author of The Madeline Island Series. His website is www.jaygilbertson.com; “Like” him on Facebook, too. Feel free to contact Jay at jay@jaygilbertson.com

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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