Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
368 pages, Published by Broadway
Buy The Book: Amazon
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. (Summary provided by Broadway.)
I recently read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I was blown away by the novel, and I quickly devoured all three of her novels in one weekend.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, author of the bestseller Gone Girl, was Flynn’s second novel. Originally published in 2009, Dark Places introduces readers to Libby Day. Libby was a little girl when her mother and sisters were murdered in 1985. Libby’s testimony helped put her brother in jail for the murder of their mother and sisters. After the murders there is an outpouring of public sympathy for Libby, and monetary donations pour in. Years later Libby finds that the trustfund is almost gone and now she must come up with a way to make more money. She reluctantly takes a gig as a featured guest at The Kill Club, a convention of sorts for people obsessed with violent crime cases. A group of people who believe Libby’s brother is innocent approaches Libby to take a second look at the events that occurred the night her family was murdered. Libby agrees to look into the case, because she desperately needs the cash. What she doesn’t expect is to find that her original perception of the events that took place in 1985 may have been wrong.
Flynn has created a cast of wholly original and memorable characters within the novel Dark Places. Through flashbacks readers meet Libby’s brother Ben and Libby’s mother. Libby, however, is the most fascinating of the lot. With a tendency to steal and a bit of a violent streak, Libby is a survivor and does not want anyone’s pity. Libby’s reluctance to think back to the worst time in her life slowly subsides. As a result of facing her demons, she ultimately begins to heal and mature.
Gillian Flynn takes readers back to a time of satanic panic in the U.S. A time in the 1980s when teens who wore all black or listened to Judas Priest were accused of being satanists. Ben’s flashbacks provide readers with enough information to conclude that he is indeed a troubled teen, but was he disturbed enough to kill his own family? Flynn keeps readers in suspense regarding Ben’s innocence until the surprising end of the book. The end of Dark Places was shocking and left me wanting to read more Gillian Flynn. I will read anything Gillian Flynn writes. She is a master.
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