Genre: Psychological Thriller
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
I don't tend to read thrillers but was persuaded to read this by the sheer number of times it cropped up in the Best of 2012 lists. Sexy, wry and deeply, deeply twisted, this is definitely one of the sharpest books I've read in the last few years. I'm not sure that I enjoyed it so much as I was greatly engaged by it. The characters (particularly Amy) are hugely compelling and the pacing and plot are expertly crafted. I'm always on the look out for richly complex female protagonists and this definitely delivered on that front. Beyond that there isn't much more I can say without spoiling anything. It's a brutally insightful look at relationships and the question of identity in the twenty-first century that will make your jaw drop and your skin crawl and for that it deserves much of the praise lavished upon it. It left me a little awestruck and very unsettled; whilst I can appreciate it, I didn't particularly like it.