The GrownupGillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn's short story, The Grownup, drew me in from the very first lines: "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." But don't be turned off by this, because I can assure you that the story does not revolve around handjobs! The narrator does not go into lurid detail about her profession; this is just the hook that draws you in. Right from the very beginning, I was taken on a whirlwind journey filled with so many twists and turns - something that I have come to expect from Flynn's works.
Without giving away any spoilers, the storyline centres on a narrator who finds herself on a new career path as, what I would call, a quasi-prostitute/aura reader. It's not long into this job before she meets Susan, a rich housewife and mother who is in utter distress, convinced that both her house and her 15-year-old stepson, Miles, are evil.
While reading The Grownup, which lasted for well under an hour, I had to constantly ask myself whether the events were supernatural or merely psychological. And, because the story is so short, it seemed to me that the tension was twice more profound.
My only real criticism of the story is that the ending was very ambiguous, and I was left hanging with way more questions than answers. Needless to say, if Flynn ever writes a (much longer!) sequel to The Grownup I would race out to buy a copy of it. Flynn is the absolute queen of suspense who never fails to have me on the edge of my seat.