Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was the best thing I read last year. It’s an almost perfect novel, with a unique setup, thrilling mystery and beautiful payoff. Nick and Amy Dunn have been married for five years. The marriage isn’t perfect and Nick is getting a little restless. One morning, Nick goes out for a walk to review his options. When he returns, Amy is gone and there are signs of a struggle. Of course the police zero in on Nick as the prime suspect, even if he swears his innocence on a stack of Bibles. As the days and weeks go by, the cops discover Nick’s girlfriend, his massive debt load and his suspicious actions, and Amy looks more and more dead. Then they find her diary ...
I hesitate to say any more about this book, I don’t want to ruin the delicious unspooling of the characters and their actions. I will say that the novel goes along about a hundred miles an hour until the middle ... then a mind-blowing plot twist throws everything into even bigger chaos. There is a huge revelation that threw me for a loop and ratcheted up the tension level another zillion notches. The only other thing I will say is I love stories written with the “unreliable narrator” device. If done well, it slowly dawns on the reader that things may not be what they seem.
I know the movie version of Gone Girl is coming out later this year, with one of my favorite directors, David Fincher, at the helm. I was cautiously looking forward to it until I read about the cast. I don’t know much about Rosamund Pike, who plays Amy. Unfortunately, it has one of the worst actors in Hollywood playing Nick; Ben Affleck. Affleck is the perfect example of what being talentless but tall and good looking will get you in show business. If a role requires an open mouth and blank stare, Affleck is your man. But I think the part of Nick requires actual acting. If any director can bring out something resembling a performance, Fincher can. There are limits to reality ... But Gone Girl, the novel? Read it.
Rating: ***** out of 5 stars