My second Christmas book, which I read between Christmas and New Year, was the fantastic Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, which had been recommended to me for its excellent writing. This is a crime thriller at its best and is set in that creepiest of settings – small-town America.
Camille Preaker has issues and she is supported in life and her work by her lovely boss Frank Curry, esteemed Chicago editor of a second-rate newspaper that needs a story that will boost its readership. This is why Curry gently insists that Camille return to her hometown to report on a series of missing girls, hoping that she can get them an insider scoop. Camille reluctantly returns and has to stay with her distant mother, her mother’s partner and her half-sister, who don’t exactly put out the welcome mat for her.
As she goes around town she hangs out with the bitchy friends of her mother’s, with the bored local kids and with the new policeman, a fellow outsider who is trying to keep Camille out of his way whilst he finds out who is behind the girls disappearances. All the while Camille begins to disintegrate and her fragile recovery from self-harm is increasingly jeopardised. But as Curry offers her a plane ticket to get her out, she becomes more and more involved, dragged down into a dangerous world.
This is beautifully written and utterly gripping and I now need to watch the HBO TV series.