The great Whodunit leaves us wondering who did it often until the very end. Was it person A who did it? Or was it person B who did it? Maybe there wasn’t an it at all?
Nick and Amy live near the Mississippi river. Their town is dead and their marriage is pretty well on the way there as well. They moved back to Nick’s home town to help take care of his ailing parents. Nick and Amy had both been writers in New York, but then the economic crash happened and people moved away from print so there was no need for either of them to have a job.
We hear both sides of the story. Nick tells his story in real-time, while Amy tells her story in the background. Nick gets a phone call one day that his front door is open, odd, why would the front door be open? Amy is gone and Nick is upset about the whole thing even if they hadn’t been getting along all that great recently. A case is opened. It isn’t long before the cops start poking around. Their primary suspect soon turns out to be Nick. Everything points to his guilt. There are fingerprints. There are staged-looking crime scenes. There are mysterious credit card purchases. All fingers point at Nick.
Nick plays a scavenger hunt because it was their anniversary. Part of the way through the hunt he realizes something awful. Nick also has some secrets of his own. There are furtive phone calls and reasonable doubts. Things progress. Amy continues to tell her story from the past, but eventually, we catch up with Amy. What was her side of the whole thing? Who could have taken Amy Dunne?
What I liked
I’ve read plenty of “whodunits” otherwise known as mystery novels, but this one is definitely unique. The reader is left switching from who to who for a while. Was it this person? How about this person? Then the reason is left switching from what to what. What really happened? How big of a mystery is this?
When the reader finally finds out the “what” the “who” becomes clear, but the “who” is dangerous in a manner that makes it pretty much impossible to win.
This story was well crafted. I was kept moving from this to this to this. Of course I did figure it out. The perpetrator is not smarter than I am, but the perpetrator wasn’t too far behind. Gillian came pretty close to keeping me in the dark at moments. That’s saying something Gillian; it really is. I was definitely surprised by the complexity of the whole case. If all our real life criminals were as smart as the perpetrator in this book we would all be screwed. Half of us would be murdered, but it would have looked like natural causes or maybe someone else was framed for it, but our murderer would never be caught.
What I didn’t like
This is one of those books where you hate the protagonist, well, maybe not hate, but you dislike the protagonist. Nick is our protagonist in a way, and so is Amy, in a way, but I liked neither of them. Neither of them are good examples of human beings. They’re both highly flawed in their respective ways. At times I thought Nick did it; there was no doubt in my mind because, let’s face it, he’s not a nice person, but then other things were revealed.
When you’re reading a story, you want to root for someone, but in this story you’re not really rooting for anyone in particular. At times you will pull for one person or the other, but then you find your faith was misplaced. Someone is a liar. Maybe they’re all liars.
I don’t know how to feel about the ending yet. I’ll think on it. I don’t know if I like it or if I hate it.
If you are looking for a book that keeps you on your toes, this is definitely that book.
If you have read the book, do you have sympathy for Amy and Nick or do you think they’re crazy?
What do you think would be going through your head if a murder pointed in your direction?