Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Don’t bother to read the rest of this review. All you need to know is this book is fantastic and you need to a get a copy now. The book centers around the disappearance of Amy Dunne who suddenly vanishes on the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary. The story is simultaneously narrated by Amy and her husband Nick, and is just fantastic! I can’t say any more without giving something away but it’s incredibly clever with many gasp-inducing plot twists that come out of nowhere. I literally could not put this book down – I read it while brushing my teeth, while stuck at traffic lights, and even read a chapter when I woke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom! Flynn is obviously a talented author and I’m keen to try her backlist now. If my recommendation isn’t enough, have a look around the internet – this book is getting a lot of buzz, and rightly so.

The book points out fairly early on that when a wife goes missing in suspicious circumstances, the husband is frequently near the top of the list of suspects. We’ve certainly all heard the statistic that most murder victims knew their attacker. In fact, 22% of murders in the USA in 2002 were murders of a family member, and 9% were murders of a spouse. The US Department of Justice has a really interesting document available on the internet discussing the statistics behind spousal murder. Some of the most interesting facts include:

  • The average age of someone killing their spouse is 39.
  • 44% of wives that kill their husbands had been assaulted by their husband at or around the time of the murder. This was true for 10% of husbands.
  • 66% of husbands that kill their wives had been drinking alcohol at the time of the murder.
  • Wife defendants had a lower conviction rate (70%) compared to husband defendants (87%), maybe because of the higher incidence of pleas of self-defense.
  • The average prison sentence for a convicted husband was about 10 years longer than that for a convicted wife (16.5 years, compared to 6 years).

Maybe there are some advantages to being single after all!

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