January 24, 2012

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Title:  Dark Places
Author:  Gillian Flynn
Format: PB
Pages: 345
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Three Rivers, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0307341570
Series: Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  I only heard because I was hiding in a closet while my family died because I was a worthless little coward.

Synopsis (PBS):  "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.

Review:  This was a really unusual book.  It skipped between the past, before the murders happened, and the present, which is when Libby is searching for the truth.  Every major character told parts of the story.  I was so sure I knew who had done it.  Unfortunately, I was only partially right.  The author threw a twist in that I never saw coming, until the bitter end.  There were no winners in this story.  None of the characters were particularly likable and some of them were completely awful.  I really didn't like Libby at all, although she showed signs of becoming a better person towards the end.  

While this was a thriller, it was also a family drama.  It told the horrible story of the Day family which, while the murders were awful, had a horrible life before the killings ever happened.  Their problems were sad, scary and absolutely human.  This was a really good story, although I did think the author could have given at least one clue to the surprise ending instead of creating a situation that was mentioned only in the last few chapters, making it impossible to foresee.

Rating:  8 / 10

No comments:

Post a Comment

Back to Top