Ghost stories are better with the lights out.

If you’re one of the seven million without power and with free time, Gone Girl will keep gone-girlyou reading and less worried about your present, if a little jumpy, suspicious even, of your neighbors and friends. Your spouse. Especially your spouse. “Marriage can be a real killer” is the tagline.

Generally I’m not a one for mysteries, since the structure or gimmick aspect often overshadows the story. But there are exceptions and Gone Girl is one. Haven’t quite finished yet, but giving my wrist a break from rapid-fire page turning.

Former Entertainment Weekly writer Gillian Flynn’s third mystery has been racking up the kudos, and sales, since it was published in June. I’ve been on the library waiting list since August. I’m still at number 277. But lucky me, snagged a copy from a friend.

Nick and Amy Dunne have bailed on New York, having lost their jobs. Nick insists they return to his family hometown of Carthage, Missouri, so he can help out his ailing parents. On their fifth wedding anniversary Amy, the real-life model for the Amazing Amy series of children’s books, goes missing.

Who is the first suspect when a pretty wife is missing-presumed-dead?

The husband of course.

Nick is the unreliable narrator, which makes the story especially interesting and puzzle-like. We know right off information is being withheld.  When the police come to call, he plays the cooperative game, talks about their anniversary plans, the dinner reservations he’s made. “It was my fifth lie to the police. I was only just starting.”

Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent has been dancing around my mind for 200 pages, with its similar protagonist/narrator/suspect structure. Amy is present on the pages also, comes through loud and whiney through big sections of her diary.

The characters all have deep flaws, are not terribly likable–a risky choice for the author– but are terribly interesting.

Me, I’m rooting for the cops.

About Karen Ray

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