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Sharp Objects
Cover of Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects
A Novel
Borrow Borrow

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims--a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story--and survive this homecoming.

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims--a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story--and survive this homecoming.

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  • Available:
    8
  • Library copies:
    11
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  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    770
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Awards-
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One Chapter One

    My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly. It was May 12 but the temperature had dipped to the forties, and after four days shivering in my shirtsleeves, I grabbed cover at a tag sale rather than dig through my boxed-up winter clothes. Spring in Chicago.

    In my gunny-covered cubicle I sat staring at the computer screen. My story for the day was a limp sort of evil. Four kids, ages two through six, were found locked in a room on the South Side with a couple of tuna sandwiches and a quart of milk. They'd been left three days, flurrying like chickens over the food and feces on the carpet. Their mother had wandered off for a suck on the pipe and just forgotten. Sometimes that's what happens. No cigarette burns, no bone snaps. Just an irretrievable slipping. I'd seen the mother after the arrest: twenty-two-year-old Tammy Davis, blonde and fat, with pink rouge on her cheeks in two perfect circles the size of shot glasses. I could imagine her sitting on a shambled-down sofa, her lips on that metal, a sharp burst of smoke. Then all was fast floating, her kids way behind, as she shot back to junior high, when the boys still cared and she was the prettiest, a glossy-lipped thirteen-year-old who mouthed cinnamon sticks before she kissed.

    A belly. A smell. Cigarettes and old coffee. My editor, esteemed, weary Frank Curry, rocking back in his cracked Hush Puppies. His teeth soaked in brown tobacco saliva.

    "Where are you on the story, kiddo?" There was a silver tack on my desk, point up. He pushed it lightly under a yellow thumbnail.

    "Near done." I had two inches of copy. I needed six.

    "Good. Fuck her, file it, and come to my office."

    "I can come now."

    "Fuck her, file it, then come to my office."

    "Fine. Ten minutes." I wanted my thumbtack back.

    He started out of my cubicle. His tie swayed down near his crotch.

    "Preaker?"

    "Yes, Curry?"

    "Fuck her."

    Frank Curry thinks I'm a soft touch. Might be because I'm a woman. Might be because I'm a soft touch.

    Curry's office is on the third floor. I'm sure he gets panicky-pissed every time he looks out the window and sees the trunk of a tree. Good editors don't see bark; they see leaves—if they can even make out trees from up on the twentieth, thirtieth floor. But for the Daily Post, fourth-largest paper in Chicago, relegated to the suburbs, there's room to sprawl. Three floors will do, spreading relentlessly outward, like a spill, unnoticed among the carpet retailers and lamp shops. A corporate developer produced our township over three well-organized years—1961-64—then named it after his daughter, who'd suffered a serious equestrian accident a month before the job was finished. Aurora Springs, he ordered, pausing for a photo by a brand-new city sign. Then he took his family and left. The daughter, now in her fifties and fine except for an occasional tingling in her arms, lives in Arizona and returns every few years to take a photo by her namesake sign, just like Pop.

    I wrote the story on her last visit. Curry hated it, hates most slice-of-life pieces. He got smashed off old Chambord while he read it, left my copy smelling like raspberries. Curry gets drunk fairly quietly, but often. It's not the reason, though, that he has such a cozy view of the ground. That's just yawing bad luck.

    I walked in and shut the door to his office, which isn't how I'd ever imagined my editor's office would look. I craved big oak panels, a window pane in the door—marked...
About the Author-
  • GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl and the New York Times bestsellers Dark Places and Sharp Objects. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, her work has been published in 42 countries. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 21, 2006
    Flynn gives new meaning to the term "dysfunctional family" in her chilling debut thriller. Camille Preaker, once institutionalized for youthful self-mutilation, now works for a third-rung Chicago newspaper. When a young girl is murdered and mutilated and another disappears in Camille's hometown of Wind Gap, Mo., her editor, eager for a scoop, sends her there for a human-interest story. Though the police, including Richard Willis, a profiler from Kansas City, Mo., say they suspect a transient, Camille thinks the killer is local. Interviewing old acquaintances and newcomers, she relives her disturbed childhood, gradually uncovering family secrets as gruesome as the scars beneath her clothing. The horror creeps up slowly, with Flynn misdirecting the reader until the shocking, dreadful and memorable double ending. She writes fluidly of smalltown America, though many characters are clichés hiding secrets. Flynn, the lead TV critic for Entertainment Weekly
    , has already garnered blurbs from Stephen King and Harlan Coben. 5-city author tour; foreign rights sold in 10 countries.

  • Alan Cheuse, The Chicago Tribune "A first novel that reads like the accomplished work of a long-time pro, the book draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction...Flynn's book goes deeper than your average thriller. It has all the narrative drive of a serious pop novel and much of the psychological complexity of a mainstream character study. All in all, a terrific debut."
  • Chicago Sun-Times "A compulsively readable psychological thriller that marks [a] dazzling debut...[Flynn] has written a clever crime story with astonishing twists and turns, and enough suspense for the most demanding fans of the genre. But it is the sensitive yet disturbing depiction of her heroine that makes this an especially engrossing story...Flynn's empathic understanding of her major characters leads to storytelling that is sure and true, and it marks her a write to watch."
  • Stephen King "To say this is a terrific debut novel is really too mild. I haven't read such a relentlessly creepy family saga since John Farris's All Heads Turn as the Hunt Goes By, and that was thirty years ago, give or take. Sharp Objects isn't one of those scare-and-retreat books; its effect is cumulative. I found myself dreading the last thirty pages or so but was helpless to stop turning them. Then, after the lights were out, the story just stayed there in my head, coiled and hissing, like a snake in a cave. An admirably nasty piece of work, elevated by sharp writing and sharper insights."
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer "Not often enough, I come across a first novel so superb that it seems to have been written by an experienced author, perhaps with 20 earlier books to his or her credit. I'm extremely excited to discover my first debut blowout this year, a sad, horrifying book called Sharp Objects...[Flynn] is the real deal. Her story, writing and the characters will worm their way uncomfortably beneath your skin...But this is more literary novel than simple mystery, written with anguish and lyricism. It will be short-listed for one or more important awards at the end of the year...Sharp Objects is a 2006 favorite so far. I doubt I'll ever forget it."
  • San Francisco Chronicle "A deeply creepy exploration of small-town Midwestern values and boasts one of the most deliciously dysfunctional families to come along in a while...[Flynn] handles the narrative with confidence and a surprisingly high level of skill...Wind Gap ends up the sort of place you'd never want to visit. But with Sharp Objects, you're in no hurry to leave."
  • San Jose Mercury News "Brilliant...Powerful, mesmerizing...A stunning, powerful debut from someone who truly has something to say."
  • Kansas City Star "One of the best and most disturbing books I have read in a long time...Flynn never stoops to the gratuitous, and the torment produces haunting characters that hung around my imagination long after I had finished the book. Her skillful blending of old tragedies with new culminated in an 'oh-my-gosh' moment that I never saw coming. This book simply blew me away."
  • Newsweek "Don't look here for the unrelenting self-deprecation and the moping over men common chick lit...I promise you'll be thoroughly unnerved at the end."
  • People Style Watch "First-time novelist Flynn is a natural-born thriller."
  • Harlan Coben "A witty, stylish, and compelling debut. A real winner."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Flynn delivers a great whodunit, replete with hinting details, telling dialogue, dissembling clues. Better yet, she offers appalling, heartbreaking insight into the darkness of her women's lives: the Stepford polish of desperate housewives, the backstabbing viciousness of drug-gobbling, sex-for-favors Mean Girls, the simmering rage bound to boil over. Piercingly effective and genuinely terrifying."
  • Library Journal "Fans of psychological thrillers will welcome narrator/Chicago Daily Post reporter Camille Preaker with open arms...As first-time novelist Flynn expertly divulges in this tale reminiscent of the works of Shirley Jackson, there is much more to discover about Wind Gap and, most of all, about Camille."
  • Booklist "This impressive debut novel is fueled by stylish writing and compelling portrait
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A Novel
Gillian Flynn
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