I'm a little late to the party, but I can't recommend highly enough Gillian Flynn's terrific "Gone Girl." I ran through it in about ten days (which considering my schedule is pretty swift) and though it'll sound like a cliche, hadn't felt a book emotionally yo-yo me like that in, well, almost forever.
If you haven't yet read it, I won't do the whole spoiler thing. But suffice it to say it takes place in alternating first-person viewpoints of two halves of a marriage: Nick and Amy Dunne. Flynn's terrific at searing, then cauterizing the wounds two people can inflict on one another in the course of a relationship and then a marriage, and the way she describes how they both tried so hard to be someone else when they met — that by the time they were well married and were their actual selves, they were virtual strangers.
This sounds very literary and interior, and in some ways it is, but the essence of "Gone Girl's" plot is when Amy disappears on the morning of their 5th anniversary, and the consequences for everyone around them. The twisty way Flynn gets us there, and shifts our loyalties from one spouse to the other, is simply brilliant. Two other things make me instant Flynn fans: She's a former entertainment writer who made it as a proper novelist (aspirational!) and that she subverted my natural tendency to skip to the end.
Now, I don't literally skip to the end of books, that's an odd behavior I've never understood. I don't mind knowing where the journey is heading thanks to the jacket flap copy, but I really don't want to know where we end up until we're there. But at the start of "Gone Girl's" initial plot kicker I started trying to figure out what was going to make this more than a normal thriller, what was going to vault it above the usual whodunit and whydunit and so forth. And while some of my early expectations were proved right, I really could never have known where "Gone Girl" was, well, going until right before the very end. So thank you for that, Ms. Flynn.
Mre than one person commented on the fact that I was carrying the book around, telling me alternately that it was terrific and that Reese Witherspoon had the option for the film. I'm not sure I see her as Amy — I see more of a Jessica Chastain type — but that's all ephemera. Go read "Gone Girl, immediately.