I'm not really into crime novels/mysteries, which this book generally seems to be billed as, so despite having heard a lot of hype, I wouldn't have bothered reading it were it not for one thing - a list of quotations from the book I found on Goodreads.
There were a couple of quotes , for example one about the dangers of being a cool girl and one about meeting someone who gets you, that really resonated with me and left me unable to resist giving the book a go. Added to this, several reviews mentioned that there was a big twist that they genuinely hadn't seen coming, and I can never resist a good, well-handled twist.
The first thing I'd say is that I'm glad I took a chance on the book. It was difficult to put down; I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next, and I think parts of it will stick in my mind for a long time. So in short, I'd definitely recommend.
It's hopefully not too spoiler-ish to say that the first half of the book is basically mediations on a relationship combined with a mystery: a woman has disappeared - where has she gone? The second half then becomes much more like a psychological crime thriller.
In the first half, there are two voices. Chapters alternate between Nick's (the husband) narration, starting with the day of his wife's disappearance, and Amy's (the wife) diary entries, dating back from the day the two first met years before, and gradually working up to a few days before her mysterious disappearance.
Browsing through some of the reviews on here, I was struck by how many people have commented that they found the first half hard going and a bit irritating, but loved the second half.
Interestingly, I almost entirely disagree. Perhaps it's because I'm in a similar socio-economic group to the protagonists and have recently got engaged, but I found the story of the wonderful blossoming of their relationship and its horrible slow decline utterly fascinating. Yes, there was undoubtedly a touch of "first world problems," about it, but falling in and out of love is a fundamental human issue and no more or less exciting and painful just because you happen to be a trust-funded New Yorker. I thought the writing in this part was exceptional. The quotations I'd identified weren't isolated bursts of brilliance, but representative of the whole thing. It genuinely gave me a new perspective on my relationship.
I'm a big fan of unconventional narratives and I thought that the past diary entries versus present narration worked really well. The two storylines didn't quite mesh, showing what a different perspective two people can have on the same event and keeping me guessing about what was really going on in the main characters' relationship and what had happened on the day of Amy's disappearance.
This went on for chapter after chapter (Whilst I burnt through the book, I definitely think it could have been quite a bit shorter without really losing anything), and then came the much vaunted twist. All I can say was that I wasn't disappointed. I hadn't seen it coming and it was incredibly well done. Unfortunately, although I thought that post mid-way twist, the book went rapidly downhill and became, in parts, frankly silly. I actually hated the ended.
Nonetheless, I'd give this book four stars, for the overall brilliant execution and for the fact that to me, parts of the first half were some of the best things I've read in years. My suggestion - search for some of the quotes. If you enjoy them, I think you'll love the book. If they irritate or don't affect you at all, it's probably not for you.