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*Starred Review* Libby Day's mother and two younger sisters were viciously slaughtered when she was seven, and her brother, Ben, against whom she testified, has been incarcerated ever since. Twenty-five years later, Libby is still suffering from the aftereffects of the notorious murders. Although it sometimes takes her days to work up the psychic energy to wash her hair, she is not quite the timorous victim the press makes her out to be. When she finds out that the trust fund set up in her name is about to run out of money (the do-gooders have long since moved on to fresh tragedies), she starts gouging money from members of the Kill Club, a group of true-crime fans obsessed with the Day murders. Greedily pricing family memorabilia, wondering how much the Kill Club creeps will pony up for an old birthday card, she learns that none of them believes her brother committed the crime. As she starts investigating, the narrative returns to the day of the murders, intercutting Libby's current-day hunt with the actual events of the day. Despite the fact that the ending is known from the get-go, Flynn (Sharp Objects, 2006) injects these chapters with unbearable tension. And unlovable Libby, mean-spirited and greedy, shows her true colors and her deep courage. A gritty, riveting thriller with a one-of-a-kind, tart-tongued heroine.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2009 Booklist
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Once in a while a book comes along that puts a new spin on an old idea. More than 40 years ago, Truman Capote (with In Cold Blood) took readers inside the Clutter farmhouse in Holcomb, KS, to show them what it was like to walk in a killer's shoes. Flynn (Sharp Objects) takes modern readers back to Kansas to explore the fictional 1985 Day family massacre from the perspective of a survivor as well as the suspects. In order to identify the true killer, an adult Libby Day must come to terms with the traumatic events of her childhood, when her mother and two sisters were slaughtered. Although Flynn sometimes struggles with the large cast of characters she has amassed, each with his or her own set of volatile foibles, and complicates matters by dealing with them in both the present and the past, the tight plotting and engaging characters carry the reader over the few rough patches that appear. For all public libraries.-Nancy McNicol, Hamden P.L., CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Edgar-finalist Flynn's second crime thriller tops her impressive debut, Sharp Objects. When Libby Day's mother and two older sisters were slaughtered in the family's Kansas farmhouse, it was seven-year-old Libby's testimony that sent her 15-year-old brother, Ben, to prison for life. Desperate for cash 24 years later, Libby reluctantly agrees to meet members of the Kill Club, true crime enthusiasts who bicker over famous cases. She's shocked to learn most of them believe Ben is innocent and the real killer is still on the loose. Though initially interested only in making a quick buck hocking family memorabilia, Libby is soon drawn into the club's pseudo-investigation, and begins to question what exactly she saw-or didn't see-the night of the tragedy. Flynn fluidly moves between cynical present-day Libby and the hours leading up to the murders through the eyes of her family members. When the truth emerges, it's so twisted that even the most astute readers won't have predicted it. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved