With masterly crafted, detailed, skin-crawling descriptions and a knack for high-tension moments, American author Gillian Flynn enthralled millions of readers with her tales of crimes and murders. While the troubling nature of her novels such as Dark Places (2009) and Gone Girl (2012) often suggested a troubled past, Flynn's childhood was nothing short of normalcy. She was born on February 24, 1971 in Kansas City Missouri. As a young child, she had a penchant for stories and she found the ones she found in books and movies to be especially captivating. Although she herself admittedly thought she reading and watching things that were beyond her age -- such as "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) when she was seven-years-old -- Flynn grew up much like the rest of her peers. She attended the University of Kansas and received her degree in English and journalism. Flynn headed west to California where she stayed for two years writing about human resources for a trade magazine. Afterwards, she moved to Chicago to pursue her Masters degree in journalism at Northwestern University and soon contemplated a career as criminal reporter. However, those years reading and watching mature subject matter did little to prepare the nerveless Flynn. Instead she put her movie expertise and journalism degree to use as a reporter for Entertainment Weekly magazine. For the next ten years, she flew in and out of the magazine's New York office to visit the film sets all around the world, including a trip to New Zealand for "The Lord of the Rings" Trilogy. While she was jet-setting around the globe, Flynn began to work on her first novel. Published in 2006, Sharp Objects told the story of Camille Preaker, a journalist from Chicago who returns to her hometown to report on a series of brutal murders. Flynn's literary debut was a critical success; Sharp Objects became an Edgar Award finalist and won two of the Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards in 2007. Her next novel, Dark Places, delved into a bleaker world than its predecessor, one that was explored societal classes and Satanic cults. However, unlike her first novel, much more was at stake with the publication of Dark Places. Just months before the book's release in 2009, Flynn was part of a wave of layoffs due to budgetary constraints at Entertainment Weekly, where she had spent the last four years as the magazine's TV critic. Fortunately, Dark Places was a bona fide success. It was listed on the New York Times Best Seller List for hardcover fiction for two consecutive weeks, was a nominee for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award as one of the year's best thrillers, and nabbed the Black Quill Award for Dark Genre Novel of the Year. Flynn released her third novel Gone Girl in 2012, which was her best-selling book to date with over two million copies sold in print and digital editions. The success of Flynn's novels did not go unnoticed by Hollywood and soon enough the movie rights of her works were sold. The movie adaptations of Dark Places and Gone Girl were released in the fall of 2014. The highly anticipated latter was directed by Academy Award-nominated director David Fincher and starred Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as the seemingly normal couple torn apart by an unexpected crime.