By Martha Rhynes
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is listed in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times as a best seller. This mystery/romance is the story of a dysfunctional marriage, told in alternating chapters, from the first person point of view of Nick Dunne, the husband, and Amy Elliot Dunne, his wife. Nick's narrative moves the plot forward, except for a few flashbacks, but most of Amy's story unfolds in a diary. A perceptive reader will soon discover that both protagonists are unreliable narrators.
Their romance begins in New York City, where they meet and fall in love. During an economic recession, they lose their jobs as journalists and move to the husband's boyhood home in Missouri. Nick becomes an instructor at the local college, and Amy becomes a frustrated, stay-at-home wife. The mystery begins when Amy disappears. Evidence indicates she has been murdered.
Flynn's characterization of protagonists and secondary characters complicates the mystery and adds to suspense. Evidently, to please modern readers, Flynn has included many salacious details, and her overuse of the word f--- will no doubt distract some readers. The denouement of Flynn's dystopian romance is dissolute and depressing.
New York; Crown, 2012