I just finished my second book in a row that was recommended “for fans of Gillian Flynn”… To be fair, they also recommended it to fans of Daniel Woodrell, but I haven’t read anything by him (yet).
In any case, I’m not really sure what the parallels are here. Yes, it is a missing person/murder mystery, and yes, it takes place in Missouri. Aside from that, I’m not really sure I see the similarities. This story follows the path of two outsider girls who disappeared from the same close-knit community in the Ozarks almost two decades apart. When the second girl turns up dead, sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane (whose mother was the first to go missing) begins to wonder if their circumstances have anything in common. As she gets closer to the truth, she finds herself in a precarious position, and the author builds this suspense with sharp dialogue and dramatic detail. The writing is precise, and often throughout the story, lyrical.
It seems that everyone wants to hop on the “If you liked Gone Girl…” bus, but honestly, this was a solid book with no need for that connection. In fact, I think it was better for its differences. The story is told mostly from two points of view (it changes toward the end) – Lucy’s, and her missing mother, Lila. Compared to Gone Girl, we have two reliable narrators who are above the fray here, innocent of the crimes that are committed. They live outside the influence of friends and family who will do anything to maintain the status quo, but they are fearfully silent when things need to be said. When they finally turn their attention to these people they’ve known for most of their lives, they are stunned by what they see. This is a good story, well told, with a terrific cast of characters. This book does not contain a huge twist in the final pages, and the killer may not come as a surprise to you. But if you read it, you will not be disappointed.