I figured I was taking a risk by going back to read Gillian Flynn's debut novel after already reading the others. I don't have a good track record with going backwards in a writer's catalog. I tried to set my expectations fairly low, and you know what, that seemed to work.
Camille Preaker is a mediocre journalist at a third-rate Chicago newspaper. Her editor sends her back to the small town where she grew up to investigate whether or not there's a serial killer in play, because the editor wants the scoop to try and invigorate the tired paper. Camille is reluctant to go for a variety of reasons that become clear as the book continues: this is a toxic small town in the way that small towns can be, and her own family is about as toxic as they come. Camille faces the memories of a beloved younger sister who died years ago while trying to get to know a younger half-sister who, shall we say, has almost as many issues as their joint mother.
No, it's not as good of a book as Gone Girl. The plot is beyond absurd in places, and I figured out early on what was happening and whodunnit. But, again, keeping my expectations low, I flew through this book in about two days, and I have to give Flynn credit--she's extremely willing to go very, very dark. After finishing it, I sat down with oldest son (he got the book for Christmas and kindly let me read it) and said, "If I in any way resemble the mother in this book, please schedule some mental health treatments for me." (I'm feeling fairly sure I don't, but just in case.)
So, if you want a quick, engrossing, very dark read, give this one a shot. Just don't expect too much of it.