A Really Bad Day
I think I expected far too much from this book to be honest. Sharp Objects was an absolutely blinding read and I was expecting the same from this. Sadly, it paled by comparison to this reader. It has all the ingredients for an excellent thriller but somehow it just didn't enthrall me as much as her first novel did.
It follows a similar pattern to Sharp Objects in that we have a socially inept heroine who is not entirely likeable. In fact, Libby is wholly unlikeable but she doesn't shy away from admitting that she is entirely selfish and motivated by greed. There is an attempt to garner sympathy for the character courtesy of the brutal murder of her family and her dirt poor upbringing but having heard from Libby itself you can't help but have the secret wish she'd met her end too. Her brother Ben is an enigmatic character and, for me, he came across as having severe mental issues which led him to his current predicament.
The plot is very strong and the juxtaposition of then and now is fluid and works very well within the context of the book. There are twists and turns here and a no holds barred telling of life below the poverty line where every quarter makes a difference. There is also a good examination of small town life where everyone is quick to judge and outward appearance belies the reality.
The introduction of the Kill Club was a good device for getting Libby interested in finding out what really did happen in January 1985. You also get the feeling that there is much more to tell about the people that populate this thriving underground club and that they may well be revisited in the future.
I was expecting to be sucked down the rabbit hole of Ms Flynn's disturbed imagination and to be unable to put the book down (as has happened the twice I have read Sharp Objects) but I did find it easy to put the book down. It is not the unrelenting grimness and darkness within the pages that caused this but rather a lack of genuine interest in how things turn out for the Day family.
This is a good solid Thriller and worth 3.5 Stars.