If you haven’t felt a good book-induced chill since Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, you’re in luck. The thriller writer extraordinaire published an Edgar-winning short story, “The Grownup,” in George R.R. Martin’s Rogues anthology in 2014. Now, Crown is publishing “The Grownup” as a stand-alone hardcover book on Nov. 3, 2015. Whether you missed it the first time around or just want to dive back in, check out the cover and EW’s exclusive excerpt below:
Excerpt from “The Grownup” by Gillian Flynn:
But then I spotted Susan’s house. I actually stopped and stared. Then I shivered.
It was different from the rest.
It lurked. It was the only remaining Victorian house in a long row of boxy new construction, and maybe that’s why it seemed alive, calculating. The mansion’s front was all elaborate, carved stonework, dizzying in its detail: flowers and filigrees, dainty rods and swooping ribbons. Two life-sized angels framed the doorway, their arms reaching upward, their faces fascinated by something I couldn’t see.
I watched the house. It watched me back through long, baleful windows so tall a child could stand in the sill. And one was. I could see the length of his thin body: gray trousers, black sweater, a maroon tie perfectly knotted at the neck. A thicket of dark hair covering his eyes. Then, a sudden blur, and he’d hopped down and disappeared behind the heavy brocade drapes.
The steps to the mansion were steep and long. My heart was thumping by the time I reached the top, passed the awestruck angels, reached the door, and rang the bell. As I waited I read the inscription carved in the stone near my feet.
The carving was in a severe Victorian cursive, the two juicy o’s dissected by a feathery curlicue. It made me want to protect my belly.
Susan opened the door with red eyes.
“Welcome to Carterhook Manor,” she said, fake grandeur. She caught me staring—Susan never looked good when I saw her, but she hadn’t even pretended to brush her hair, and a foul, acrid odor came off her. (Not “despair” or “depression,” just bad breath and body odor.) She shrugged limply. “I’ve finally stopped sleeping.”
Reprinted from THE GROWNUP. Copyright © 2015 by Gillian Flynn. Published by Crown, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC