Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publish Date: May 5, 2009
# of Pages: 349
(**Warning: Possible spoilers!**)
(From Goodreads) Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn is a murder mystery wrapped up in an interesting package of perspective changes, twists, and turns. Parts of the book are set in the past, others the present, and both past and present converge in a shocking ending.
I listened to Dark Places on audiobook, and it was a riveting read. The characters are both fascinating and complex. They’re imperfect—they all have flaws—and some are downright unlikeable.
At first, I didn’t like the main character, Libby Day. I’m still not entirely sure what to make of her. She suffered terrible losses as a child, but instead of moving beyond the past, she uses the past as excuses for her bad behavior. She’s rude, violent, lazy, and a thief. She has few redeeming qualities, other than you know most of her bad behavior is a result of the trauma she suffered as a child. She’s not a likeable character, but she’s compelling. Her story and the story of her family is compelling.
Ben Day is Libby’s brother. He’s another character who is hard to like, though ladies in the story fall hard for him. As a teenager, Ben is painted as wimpy and eager to please, and as an adult, he’s painted as a martyr who has been wrongly jailed. In reality, he’s weak—weak in that he does not stand up for what is right. Honestly, I thought Ben was a puke from start to finish. My opinion of him went downhill further when he did not step in to save his sister.
Patty Day, Libby and Ben’s mother, is the third character the book follows closely. She had a rough marriage to a deadbeat, and does everything she can to survive and do right by her four kids as a single mom. Once she learns her farm is going into foreclosure, she decides to make the ultimate sacrifice. Patty is a unique character. She genuinely wants to do the right thing and thinks her death will pave the way to an easier life for her children.
Onto the meat of the book. The whole reason Libby gets roped into solving her family’s murder is by getting involved with Lyle and the kill club. The kill club is weird and quirky—do these clubs actually exist? I’m afraid to Google it. While I thought the kill club bordered on unnecessary for plot progression, I appreciated the strange, cultish obsession around the Day family’s murder.
The overall plot and storyline of the book is dark. A whole family is murdered, after all. I enjoyed the different character perspectives as well as the perspectives from the past. This helped to build the story and led to one heck of a climax. Additionally, the pacing of the story was good from start to finish. I never felt that it was slow, since I was intrigued immediately by the opening chapter.
That ending though. Wow! I would have never guessed the killer. (Granted, I’m terrible at guessing book endings). I liked that the book kept me guessing and that the killer wasn’t obvious.
This was a great book. I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it already!
Have you read this book? What did you think? Also, have you read any of Gillian Flynn’s other books? I have not, but I’m thinking about checking out some of her other books, so tell me which ones are worth reading!
Buy this book here*, or check it out at your local library.
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