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Genre: Mystery, Triller, Horror, Murder
Pages: 349 (paperback)
Publication Date: Reprint edition – May 4, 2010
Publisher: Broadway Books
Website: Gillian Flynn Official Website
Dark Places on Goodreads
Gillian Flynn Amazon Author Profile
My Review Copy: Purchased
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“‘I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.’
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in ‘The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.’ As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.
The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.
As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.”
“Lyle Writh looked like a serial killer. Which meant he probably wasn’t one. If you were chopping up hookers or eating runaways, you’d try to look normal.”
Lyle is a character that ends up being a bigger part of this story than you might think at the beginning. He is like the loyal best friend that will be by your side no matter what and provides Libby with a shoulder when she doesn’t even realize that she needs one. Lyle is witty, good-hearted and is the overall pimply nerd we all want to love. If nothing else Lyle is one character the story could not go on without.
Dark Places has everything a good murder mystery needs: dark scenes, thickening plot, and character progression that could make anyone a suspect. The first half of the book, I was suspecting everyone. Flynn did a great job there creating characters that could all have some motive to be behind the murders. Throughout the whole first half and a little into the second, I kept leaping back and forth between theories of who-done-it possibilities. After that though, I came up with a theory that I was almost dead on. All that was left was letting the story unfold the rest of the way to find out that I was about 90% correct.
Flynn switches off between current-day Libby’s point of view and from other family members’ points of view from the day of the murders. This helped character progression and gave some insight as to who was doing what that night and why. It also was a factor that kept me thinking “oh wow this person could easily be involved.. no wait, now this person could be… hold on, now this other person has motive.” So kudos to Flynn for writing the story in this way!
One thing I loved (and hated) about Gone Girl was that the ending totally threw me off – it was not what I expected at all, so I feel like I got sort of gipped with Dark Places. Overall, I was not as impressed with this book as I thought I would be; after reading Gone Girl, my expectations were high (especially since I’ve heard that this was even better). However, this may just be because I’ve read and watched a lot of mysteries and am pretty good about figuring out the “plot twist.” It was still a dark, interesting story and I do recommend that if you love mysteries, give this book a read. Especially if you haven’t read anything from Gillian Flynn before. It is still fun to come up with your own theories and see how close you are – even if you’re almost dead on.
My 5 Cup Rating:
What were your thoughts on Dark Places? Favorite character, quote, scene? Did you figure out how it would end?
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