Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Briefly: Books

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Briefly: Books

Article excerpt

As compiled by editors of the International Herald Tribune.

Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn. 430 pages. Crown, $25; W&N, Pounds 12.99. Ms. Flynn's latest novel of psychological suspense will confound anyone trying to keep up with her quicksilver mind and diabolical rules of play. Not that there's anything underhanded about her intentions: She promises to deliver an account of the troubled marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne, who alternate as narrators, and so she does. The trickery is in the devilish way she tells their story. On the occasion of this young couple's fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears, amid signs of a struggle, from their house on the Mississippi River in North Carthage, Missouri, and he suffers the painful transformation from distressed husband to suspected murderer. Amy shares the narrative with Nick through giddy diary entries that date back to their first meeting at a party in Brooklyn and sharpen all the character traits blunted by five years of marriage. After losing their jobs in the publishing industry meltdown, Nick moved them to his backwater hometown and used the last of Amy's trust fund to open a bar with his twin sister. Although he made a good case ("The world will always want a drink"), Nick comes to regret detaching his urbane wife from her natural habitat.

Ms. Flynn strips her characters of their pretenses and shows no mercy while they squirm. She dares the reader to figure out which instances of marital discord might flare into a homicidal rage.

The Last Kind Words

By Tom Piccirilli. 336 pages. Bantam, $26; Pounds 17.99. Stories about dysfunctional families are boring. Stories about dysfunctional crime families are not. Terrier Rand, the protagonist of Mr. Piccirilli's caustic thriller, comes from a family of professional thieves named after, and bearing tattoos of, dogs. …

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