Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
When Libby Day was seven years old, her brother Ben murdered her mother and two sisters in a fit of Satanic rage. Now, twenty-five years later, Ben is still in prison, and Libby is still living off donations from people sympathetic to her plight. When she discovers the money’s run out, though, she has to find a new way to support herself. She accepts an invitation to a true crime society’s gathering, where the members begin peppering her with questions about the night, doubting Ben’s guilt. Libby is angry at the beginning, but as she begins to dig into the events of her past, she wonders what really happened the night the rest of her family was killed.
Dark Places is the story of Libby Day, an emotionally stunted and damaged woman who doesn’t have any problem making a quick buck off her family’s tragedy. That’s not to say Libby is unlikeable; in fact, readers will ache for her as she sifts through her past, unsure of what to believe. She’s absolutely fascinating, as she’s convinced that she has an evil inside of her, the same evil she knows is inside Ben, which is what led him to butcher his family. It’s something she’s lived with all her life, so it’s interesting to watch everything unravel before her eyes.
The story of Dark Places is twisted, to be sure. Flynn takes readers on a roller coaster. Flynn isn’t afraid to shake up her premise and shock the reader completely. It’s an absolutely wild ride, and readers won’t know what to expect from one chapter to the next. Her writing elevates the reading experience; Flynn’s prose has such texture that she brings scenes to life around the reader. She has a dark, almost gothic writing style and a way with words that is both beautiful and terrible.
More than a mystery, though, Dark Places is a serious study of characters, from Libby to Ben to everyone else impacted by the small town murders. Flynn’s characters leap off the page; each is a lost, tortured soul struggling to find their way to something better. Whether in the present day or in the flashbacks to the past, Flynn has a unique ability to write world weary souls who no longer have the energy to hope for something better.
If you’re a fan of suspense thrillers or crime fiction, Gillian Flynn should absolutely be at the top of your list. She writes incredibly well and the storyline of Dark Places is absolutely gripping. Not only that, but it includes a psychological component that will get under your skin and will haunt you long after the last pages are turned. Flynn has been receiving a lot of attention lately, and every single drop of it is completely deserved. I can’t believe I haven’t read her books before now, but I can definitely say I’ll be reading everything she writes in the future.
Other books by Gillian Flynn: