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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

A Wonderfully Audacious Thriller

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn, Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne

This is the story of a young woman who goes missing in Missouri. It's told in two contrasting and utterly believable voices: the woman's and her husband's and the truth about their relationship is gradually revealed as layer after layer of lies is peeled away.

It's hard to say much about the story without giving away the plot. What I can say is that the premise is wonderfully audacious and the structure is a labyrinth of twists and turns. Watch out for the really dramatic twist half way through the book that projects the novel into a whole new narrative dimension.

The result is a first-rate thriller but what makes it stand out from other first-rate thrillers, is the quality of the writing: the keen observation of human behaviour; the cinematic use of visual detail; the attention to even the most minor characters, the rigid control of narrative technique, and, above all the forensic examination of contemporary relationships - this I did not expect within a high-concept thriller. There's an acute commentary being played out within these pages on love and infatuation, marriage and parenting, gender stereotypes and social class. That's an extraordinary achievement and I take my hat off to the author.