What little sympathy the reader develops for Nick, suspected of murder by a city that's seen too many true-crime dramas, evaporates as we spend time with him. He is an unreliable narrator, hiding things from the reader and reflexively lying to even those trying to help him. At the same time, the Nick as witnessed through Amy's diary is decidedly a failure as a husband; not because he disappoints her (she's ever so long-suffering), but that he is contemptible by every measure of husbandry. Her record of his selfish, cruel, and bordering-on-violent behavior coupled with the deceit he offers to the reader makes him very, very, suspicious. But it's a thriller, a mystery, and how exciting would it be if a suspicious husband accused of murdering his wife actually murdered her? There's obviously more to the story, but what makes Gone Girl's unavoidable twist exceptional is that it utterly alters the character of the book; the reader's entire reality collapses as a third persona enters the ring and makes a murder-mystery into a psychological war of attrition, one that commands attention. This is one of those books that made me despair of work, meals, and bedtime, because I wanted to keep reading it even though it grew darker and more gratuitous all the while. The morbidity doesn't cease with the ending, but it's appropriate in a way.
In the end, I'm left feeling like I do after a season of Sons of Anarchy or a similarly violent-albeit-compelling show. It's exciting stuff, yes, but I don't know that I would go around urging others to read it. The viciousness is a little much. Like Dean Koontz's The Good Guy, there's a limit to how morally revolting a character I can spend headspace time in.
I was reminded of Greg Iles' Sleep No More and Third Degree.