Dark Places by Gillian Flynn is a story about a woman named Libby Day who survived and escaped the massacre of her family (about twenty years before the novel takes place). The book jumps from the past to the present, revealing glimpses at both the repercussions of and the actual events that took place. In the past, family and financial problems build and threaten to tear the lives of the Days apart, even without the knowledge of what is to come. In the present day (ha, pun), Libby’s only surviving sibling, Ben, has been convicted and imprisoned as her family’s killer. However, no one really knows what happened at the family farm on that fateful, bloody night. A seriously twisted group of people that calls itself the “Kill Club” has several theories of its own, ones that they eagerly hire Libby to explore. Only then does Libby get out of her dark place and open herself up to the idea that maybe her brother is not really the killer. Maybe, just maybe, more went on that night than she had originally thought.
What I thought:
I picked up Dark Places because I loved Gone Girl, by the same author. I’ve decided that Gillian Flynn is not afraid of writing anything. The topics she explores and describes are uncomfortable (and simply gross, at times), but I admire her for it. I wouldn’t have been brave enough to make note of some of the things that she does. So, bravo Gillian.
In this book, Flynn also uses three different perspectives, similar to the method she implements in Gone Girl. The third person narrator follows Libby in the present day, and skips between Ben and their clueless mother, Patty, up to the night (morning, technically) that they are killed. This allows the reader glimpses of the action from many different points of view. It was infuriating at times; some parts were slow, and I did not like Patty very much. However, the changes in perspective and time not only kept the story moving, but also made it much more interesting and exciting.
And then, of course, there were Flynn’s famous plot twists. The arbitrary goose chase was worth the twists toward the end. I won’t spoil anything, but I loved when Libby and Lyle finally piece everything together. And the whole Diondra thing? OMG.
None of the people I expected to be the killer were the killer. Which was good and bad. Good because, again, plot twist. But bad because it seemed really random, like an afterthought, almost.
It wasn’t the best book in the world, but I would recommend it, especially if you liked Gone Girl, or murder mystery stories in general. You should especially read it before the movie (starring Charlize Theron, Chloe Moretz, and Nicholas Hoult) comes out sometime this year!