Today I am looking at a character that I didn't like but found his voice so compelling that I wanted to carry on reading: Nick in Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, which was nominated for the Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize).
Debi Alper recommended I read it when she was teaching me on the Self-Editing Your Novel Course earlier this year as it is based on a wife who disappears, and my novel is about a husband that disappears. But that's where the similarities end I think, well hope, as I believe my main character is sympathetic and likable whereas Nick is anything but.
After Amy's disappearance a tale of a marriage in meltdown is revealed. Formerly the golden couple living the dream in New York, both Nick and Amy lost their jobs after the financial crisis and have been mainly living on handouts from Amy's wealthy parents back in small town Missouri where Nick hails from. Handouts that Nick has spent on buying a bar, which he runs with his sister, and that Amy thinks she is owed as her parents' wealth comes from writing a series of children's books based on her life as she grew up.
When foul play is suspected in Amy's disappearance Nick is the prime suspect. He admits to the reader right at the start that he is hiding something and lies to the police throughout but never reveals what he is lying about. At the same time as the narrative moves forward in Nick's voice from the time of the disappearance, there is a dual narrative from Amy's point of view telling the story of their relationship before it all went wrong. It's very clever and I don't want to give anything away but it ended up not being what I thought at all.