Yuck. Book Yuck.
So I decided to read Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. I did not care for it. Not because it's badly written on a sentence level--Flynn's a good observer with a knack for description. But what she sees is mostly the nastiest side of everything, which gets wearing for this reader.
And then there are the two viewpoint characters, who I will not term protagonists because they're really not pro anything. One of them is merely self-involved, gormless, and kinda stupid. The other is actively psychopathic and kinda evil. I think the nature of the latter character is supposed to be a surprise to the reader, but again, this reader (that would be me) was not surprised. Some of this lack of surprise was because I read the table of contents, in which the chapters are neatly labeled. The central mystery of the first half of the book is: did our unreliable narrator husband kill his wife, who has disappeared? There, in the table of contents is the answer: a section called something like "The Return." Okay, that flattens out that bit of suspense.
But really, Flynn so telegraphs the nature of the psychopath that I was not in the least surprised to have my predictions validated. Which left me with a nightmare plot: one of those stories in which a character keeps getting in worse and worse trouble with no way to retrieve the situation. Maybe all this works better for readers who have not made a life out of reading genre fiction, but I can't see it.
Nicely wrought, predictable, and deeply unpleasant. Yuck.