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The Best Novels of 2012

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

432 pages; Crown
"You could imagine the skull quite easily" is just the kind of sentiment you wish serial killers would keep to themselves. It's also one of the first things Nick Dunne—the handsome, smarmy, admittedly dishonest narrator of the opening chapter of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl—tells us about "the finely shaped head" of his wife, Amy. Make that his missing wife, Amy, who just happens to disappear from their Missouri home on the morning of their fifth anniversary, fueling a small-town melodrama—complete with middling cops, fame-hungry neighbors, and cable-TV news crews—in her wake. As the story unfolds in precise and riveting prose, alternating between Nick's voice and Amy's diaries chronicling their relationship, it quickly becomes clear that theirs was not the happiest marriage, and that Nick, "a big fan of the lie of omission," is hiding information not only from the police, but also from readers. Still, even while you know you're being manipulated, searching for the missing pieces is half the thrill of this wickedly absorbing tale.
— Ruth Baron

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