19. Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn (2006)

Previously an entertainment critic for Entertainment Weekly, first-time novelist Gillian Flynn blindsided horror readers in 2006 with the uncompromising serial killer book Sharp Objects. Hopefully it’s not based on too much personal experience, because if it is we feel for homegirl.

Flynn’s protagonist is Camille Parker, a newspaper reporter who once lived in an asylum, due to her obsession with self-cutting. She gets assigned a story that’s happening back in her hometown, where a young girl has gone missing and a killer is on the loose. And, as the bait-and-switch ending of Sharp Objects makes abundantly clear, Camille’s reality goes from unstable to painfully undesirable.