On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
Ami enjoys pushing her husband Nick to his limits, she asks for specific things, and when they aren’t delivered immediately she descends into despair. She berates Nick on his physique, lack of promotion, and even on always caving into her demands.
Even with her constant bullying, Nick still tries his best to live up to his wife’s expectations. From the outside he looks like the perfect husband, always waiting hand and foot on his wife. He’s rented a mansion on the bank of the Mississippi River, and for their upcoming 5th wedding anniversary has planned a lavish party. Nick’s twin sister Mona has already arrived to help set up for the party, and the rest of the family is scheduled to come the next day.
So when Ami disappears that night, the entire community is spun into disarray. No one knows what has happened. What’s worse, Nick doesn’t seem to care. Even worse, he seems to be relieved.
Then Ami’s parents arrive for the party, and discover that their daughter is gone. They call the police. An investigation begins with Nick in the center of it. Unfortunately, whenever he’s asked where his wife has gone, he says that he’s sure that Ami has just gone for a trip, and no one should worry. He’s spending a lot of his time at the local sports bar, and rumors begin to circulate that he is responsible for his wife’s demise.
Then Ami’s body is found in the banks of the river with her head smashed in.
A full-fledged murder investigation insures. Both family and friends take sides. Nick is taken into police custody the objection of his parents and Margo.
He continues to insist that he is innocent, and the police scramble to find evidence. In Ami’s diary they find a detailed list of each “accomplishment” when she drives Nick to threatening to leave. There are several each week.
Nick confesses to having disturbing dreams about his wife’s forehead and when the autopsy report comes in and t’s confirmed that her skull had been smashed in, Ami’s parents convince the community that he is the murderer. Reports of Nick complaining about his wife, threatening to hurt her, and constantly planning on leaving circulate.
A trial date is set, and the entire community comes out. Nick appears to be drunk and the jury is moments away from sentencing him when Margo springs up.
She tells everyone that she had been friends with Ami back in elementary school, long before the parade of plastic surgery that left Ami so beautiful. As the two grew up, Ami bullied Margo the same way she did her husband. She stole her money, clothes and whenever she got caught breaking rules she tearfully blamed it on Margo, and everyone believed her.
That was until she was caught in a pothouse while Margo was out competing at the school district’s chess tournament. Ami was sent to a correctional school, and after years of therapy Margo recovered from the abusive relationship. She didn’t recognize Ami at first, but by the time she made the connection her brother was already married to her.
Margo couldn’t stand to watch her beloved brother being abused, so that night night as Ami floated on her inflatable raft on the river, Margo bashed in her skull, chained down the body and let it sink into the river. The dreams Nick has been having were as a result of twin sense, he was reliving her memories.
Margo is taken to prison, and Nick sells the mansion, and becomes a successful businessman.