Gillian Flynn’s Edgar Award-winning homage to the classic ghost story, published for the first time as a standalone.
A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.
“The Grownup,” which originally appeared as “What Do You Do?” in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction.
An Amazon Best Book of November 2015: If you’ve read Gone Girl (and odds are you have) you know Gillian Flynn’s talent for playing cat and mouse with her readers. In The Grownup she does it again but in only 62 pages. The story opens with this: “I didn’t stop giving hand jobs because I wasn’t good at it. I stopped giving hand jobs because I was the best at it.” It’s a helluva way to start, and the curiosity it raises is just the beginning. The narrator is a born and raised scam artist who sees a chance to leave light sex work behind for a career in what she does best, reading people and telling them what they want to hear. Susan seems like the perfect mark–rich, desperate, and terrified of the evil she says lives in her house. But things are not what they seem, especially with Flynn at the helm. A short story written for George R.R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, The Grownup is a tightly wrought psychological thrill ride that will leave readers replaying every well spent moment. – Seira Wilson