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Dark Places: A Novel Hardcover – May 5, 2009


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Hardcover, May 5, 2009
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307341569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307341563
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,353 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Edgar-finalist Flynn's second crime thriller tops her impressive debut, Sharp Objects. When Libby Day's mother and two older sisters were slaughtered in the family's Kansas farmhouse, it was seven-year-old Libby's testimony that sent her 15-year-old brother, Ben, to prison for life. Desperate for cash 24 years later, Libby reluctantly agrees to meet members of the Kill Club, true crime enthusiasts who bicker over famous cases. She's shocked to learn most of them believe Ben is innocent and the real killer is still on the loose. Though initially interested only in making a quick buck hocking family memorabilia, Libby is soon drawn into the club's pseudo-investigation, and begins to question what exactly she saw—or didn't see—the night of the tragedy. Flynn fluidly moves between cynical present-day Libby and the hours leading up to the murders through the eyes of her family members. When the truth emerges, it's so twisted that even the most astute readers won't have predicted it. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Libby Day, the protagonist of Flynn’s disturbing second novel, was, as a seven-year-old, the only survivor of her family’s brutal murder by her older brother, an event dubbed by the media the “Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” Twenty-five years later, she has become a hardened, selfish young woman with no friends or family. Since the tragedy, her life has been paid for by donations of well-wishers, but, with that fund now empty, Libby must find a way to make money. Her search leads her to The Kill Club, a secret society of people obsessed with the details of notorious murders. As Libby tries to gather artifacts to sell to The Kill Club (whose members, it turns out, doubt the guilt of her brother), she is forced to reëxamine the events of the night of the murder. Flynn’s well-paced story deftly shows the fallibility of memory and the lies a child tells herself to get through a trauma.
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
1,592
4 star
1,070
3 star
432
2 star
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1 star
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See all 3,353 customer reviews
The story is well written with lots of character development.
Phil J
This is one of those books that keeps you up reading much longer than you had intended, for you just want to know what is going to happen next.
Frank J. Konopka
This book was so full of twist and turns it kept me guessing till the very end.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

402 of 429 people found the following review helpful By D. Summerfield on May 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Libby Day was seven years old when her mother and two sisters were massacred in a blood-soaked home invasion dubbed by the press as "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas." It was Libby's testimony which put her then-fifteen-year old brother, Ben, into prison for the rest of his life for the heinous murders.

Now, it is almost twenty-five years later, and Libby, depressed, angry and broke has agreed to attend a meeting of the Kill Club, a strange conglomerate of people obsessed with famous murders. Some of the Kill Club members have become interested in the murders of Libby's family because they are convinced that Ben has been wrongly convicted. After meeting with the Kill Club, Libby, although still sure that Ben is the murderer, decides to try to make some cash from her family's grisly history by charging the Kill Club members to interview people who might have further information about the murders.

In hauntingly compelling prose, this wonderfully talented author deftly unfolds the story of what really happened during the early morning hours of January 3, 1985, and how searching for, and uncovering, that truth will change the lives of Libby and Ben.

The book is told in an interesting intermittent flashback format, with Libby, tough and damaged from her horrific childhood, narrating the present-day chapters in first-person, while the flashback chapters, told in third-person, describe the actions of several key characters on one winter's day in 1985.

Besides Libby, the most fascinating character in the book is that of Ben, the awkward, aimless, angry boy, tottering on the brink of manhood.
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130 of 137 people found the following review helpful By Denise Crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Who killed Libby Day's family? This is the mystery that is presented on the first page and the subsequent chapters detail Libby's attempt - half-hearted at first, to get the answers she so desperately needs in order for her to get on track in life. The book alternates points of view from Libby in present day to various characters from the past - describing the events that led up to, and include the infamous day of the murders twenty-five years previous - January 2, 1985.

The book is paced and the author writes excellent and well developed descriptions of the characters - Libby's mother, aunt Diane, sisters and brother - as well as of the setting of the Kinnakee, Kansas farm and Libby's house on the bluff in Kansas City, Missouri. (As a KCMO native, I was surprised to find a book set in this Midwest city because it is so rare and I really enjoyed that fact about the book.)

Because of the way the novel is written, the various points of view in each chapter are used to advance Libby's determination and investigation into actually and finally finding out who killed her family and why. The plot is revealed in layers and the reader isn't quite sure how all of this is going to come together - but it does. This is not a heart pounding thriller, but a more dark and plodding one - you know that denouement is just around the corner - you're hoping that Libby is going to get the information she wants as she confronts first one and then another of the surviving family and others involved with the search for the killer(s) of her family. Indeed, the hangers on - the Kill Club members - and her father, the loser Runner, only add to her consternation as she seems thwarted at every turn.
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167 of 193 people found the following review helpful By J.L. Cocca VINE VOICE on June 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The basic plotline of this story was excellent. Youngest daughter in a single-mother family of four survives the slaughter of said family and then testifies that her brother was the killer. Nearly twenty-five years later circumstances arise that make her question everything she's ever known and the ensuing story about finding answers leads us to a resolution. I thought this premise sounded very interesting and that the novel would provide me with a little bit of thought-provocation and a lot of suspense.

Unfortunately, the way each of these characters were written made them very unsympathetic to me as a reader. Many may disagree with me, by saying that anyone who experiences the brutal death of a family member has the right to be selfish throughout the rest of his or her life. But, I disagree with that theory and the actions of Libby Day, her tone in telling the story and her mood towards those around her who only wanted to help did not endear her to me at all.

What redeemed this novel for me were the flashback chapters told from the perspectives of Ben and Patty Day, accused brother and murdered mother respectively. Hearing the story told, in the day leading up to the murders, from their points of view were the pieces of this book that made me keep reading instead of tossing the book aside for something better. In these chapters, the author did a remarkable job of laying out the puzzles pieces that no one had been able to put together up to that point.

This story has many layers and I'm sure that different readers will get many different messages from it. I was disappointed that I didn't like the main character more, but that didn't stop me from wanting to get answers about what really happened "that night" just like she did.
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