Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, is a great novel. I tore through it in a few days (being home sick from work for one of those days didn’t hurt), because it is very much a page turner.
The suspense of the murder mystery that Flynn creates is a key part of what keeps you reading – there’s a very delicately woven narrative (that she creates from at least two, if not three angles), and an ingenious series of clues with multiple interpretations. I haven’t read a lot of crime/mystery writing, but I think Flynn’s done a great job with providing some, enough information without beating you over the head with facts and/or red herrings.
But I think part of what makes this story great – what lifts it above the normal detective piece with clues and theories and suspects – is that it’s simultaneously a love story. And while I think it’d be a very different novel without the suspense – would have much less drive, would probably not be nearly as popular – I think a key part of the story is the love between the two main characters.
She writes it beautifully – she tells it from different perspectives, so that you have a multi-faceted, and slow (some of the diary entries span years) perspective on the gradual breakdown of a relationship. Now, whether that’s the whole story, or an accurate set of angles … I don’t think matters too much. Because what’s amazing is how she gets into the details – the way people interpret small things, the way they build stories inside their heads, the way two people can become strangers to one another. You feel as though you’re seeing a train wreck in slow motion, watching these two people collide tragically with one another.
So I think the strength of the novel comes not just because Flynn’s told a great love story, and a great detective story. It’s because she’s woven the two together so well that the two strengthen each other, leaving you with something that’s both gripping but with a bit of depth, that it’s such a great read.