Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Read by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne
Publication date: 05 June 2012 by Random House Audio
Category: Adult Mystery Thriller Suspense
Keywords: Kidnapping, Murder, Crime
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Source: Purchased from Audible.com
Having read Gillian Flynn's debut, Sharp Objects, I was really looking forward to her nightmarish account of a marriage gone completely to hell. An unemployed writer, Nick Dunne, drags his silver-spoon-fed, New York City born-and-bred wife Amy to his hometown in Missouri to help out his aging parents. Their relationship shreds apart over a combination of money troubles, petty arguments, and deep-seated resentments. On their fifth wedding anniversary, when Nick comes home to an empty house, he becomes the chief suspect in Amy's disappearance and possible murder.
While the first part felt a bit slow, dragging along with two really unlikeable main characters, the second part blew up, took off, and didn't slow down until the last 30 minutes or so. The self-referential, inside-jokey-ness of the plot and dialogue kept me hooked, even though at times I wasn't quite sure who I was rooting for--Amy, the victimized wife, or Nick, the put-upon husband? The twist comes early, but then keeps on twisting until you can't see the end. The ending chilled me, though it left me wanting a different outcome.
I'm really looking forward to the film version from David Fincher. While I didn't like the ending of the novel, I hear the third act has been rewritten for the movie, and I look forward to the possibility of getting a more satisfying ending. I think Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck (a man with "a face you want to punch", as the character of Nick is described) are perfectly cast.
The audiobook readers, Julia Whelan (Amy) and Kirby Heyborne (Nick) sound like they're really having fun on this production. Not only do they get to say the darndest things, they get to imbue the material with such vitriol and attitude that the last 2/3rds of the audiobook sounds virtually unstoppable. I seriously had to force myself to stop listening and go to sleep so that I wouldn't be a total wreck at work the next day. I'd definitely listen to other audiobooks they read.
Flynn writes her characters' voices with flair, shifting into their different moods and personas quickly and easily. She throws out so many red herrings, you hardly suspect that more than one of them--heck, almost all of them--turn out to be real. All in all, Gone Girl was exactly the escapist thriller I wanted for a zingy summer read.