Dark Places, 1st Edition
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spoiler* ending* spoiler SPOILER** Huge spoiler regarding the plot and ending, please DO NOT READ of you have not finished the book yet!** SPOILER

Okay, so I was surprised by the plot twist at the end, but I see how Flynn kind of set it up by introducing the Angel of Debt earlier in the book. However, in Peggy's case, would it have really helped? I don't remember them making a big point about her having insurance, and with how poor the Days were suppose to be, I couldn't imagine her keeping up with insurance premiums. So, wouldn't the farm have gone into foreclosure anyway, even though the kids would be the new owners?

Or did I miss a part where it mentions that Peggy always paid the premiums, no matter how bad things were financially?
asked by M. D. Mulhern on May 18, 2009
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What I couldn't understand is why Patty would chose to be killed in her own home, with the kids there. Too many ways for it to go terribly wrong, including making Ben a suspect even if the other stuff hadn't happened. Plus the Angel of Death always mace the other deaths seem like accidents so this stabbing was it of character. Having Patty arrange for death for the insurance was a nice twist but the method just didn't make sense. I also agree about paying the premiums but maybe her parents had a policy for her and it was paid up. Just a thought. Diondra was certifiable.
Love2Read answered on September 23, 2012
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I have to disagree with this. Patty seemed to have a pretty major depression going on and however much she loved her children; she seemed to find caring and/or dealing with them an enormous burden. I agree that the whole "Angel of Debt" plot line felt tacked on, but I can believe that Patty might have felt that her children might be better off without her.
Indigo583 answered on August 24, 2009
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John Speer got it right...Patty decided her children would be better off with her insurance money than they would with her for a mother so she hired the Angel of Debt to assist in her suicide. Not sure if Patty expected him to be at the door to plunge the knife into her chest but him killing her with the knife had been planned. Neither planned for Debby to come into the picture and when she did, Patty realized that this man would have to kill the little girl so he would not be found out with the little girl as an eyewitness to stabbing her mother. Patty even forces the knife back into her chest in a fight against his pulling it out of her to use it on Debby hence the need for the other weapons. What made him go insane in terms of great overkill is chalked up to momentary madness. As for Ben watching Diondra murder his sister without much emotion one way or another was too underdone for me and didn't really make sense. He hears his mother and other sister being attacked and yet just sits there wondering if Michelle is really dead. Even for Ben, an abused weakling, this seemed very flat and a bit ridiculous. I get that he was beaten down into a punching bag by his father and was able to take constant abuse from his "friends" and would do whatever they said but it just seemed like he was so much of a wimp by the end you couldn't really feel sorry for him anymore. All in all, I liked this book better than Sharp Objects but found it a bit contrived. Not enough to make me dislike it but enough to leave me thinking that this could likely never happen in real life.
J. Perrotta answered on July 12, 2012
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I agree, it came out of left field, if you ask me. I really liked it up to that point. Even when they mentioned early on Patty's insurance going to pay for Ben's defense, I thought, really? She had insurance? And how on earth did Diondra know about it (when she told Ben to go hunt down Libby?) I think if they were going to do that, then he should have killed Michelle as well or Diondra should have killed them all. It was just too much to be believable...
Octochick answered on May 27, 2009
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I also thought the ending of this book was unbelievable. When I first finished, I just sat there for a minute, thinking "What? That's seriously what happened?" and the longer I thought about it, the more I don't like it. The book was good. Gillian Flynn is a great writer, but Sharp Objects was MUCH better!
Tara A. Toth answered on October 27, 2009
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Patty didn't seem the type of mother to leave her kids that way, especially with Ben potentially facing major trouble. Rang false.
Marie answered on July 14, 2009
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I have to agree with you about Ben, he doesn't provoke any sense of compassion, he is psychologically handicaped, pathetic and Patty's decision to end her life was more out of cowardice than anything; it was easier for her to be a failure than seek real solutions, and not cause more problems by killing herself in the end she proved as self-centered as runner, only not in an obvious manner.
Rebecca Monroe answered on September 19, 2012
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I'd assume the life insurance is linked to (embedded in) Patty's mortgage payments, so it wasn't an expense she could've cut back on earlier. No doubt Ben had mentioned it to Diondra at some point. I'm confused at reviewers who thought Crystal may have been Runner's kid? Where would THAT idea come from? The Angel of Death was one of those Deus-ex-Machina devices from left field -- meeting up with him and a vague promise of "solving the problem" wasn't a "fair" clue, IMHO.

I found Libby likeable, in spite of herself, once I got used to her, and was pleased she accepts Lyle at the end, not pushing him away.
John S. answered on May 27, 2011
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Tara, I agree. I enjoyed Sharp Objects much better. I think it is because I liked the main character a lot better than Libby or any of the Days. Every time I found myself feeling sympathetic towards this family, I would think, if I really knew them, I probably would have shuned them too. Just not very likeable people.

But I didn't find the ending unbelieveable or tacked on. I felt like there was a lot of foreshadowing that the killings were done by two groups of people. What I thought felt left out, was discussion of a life insurance policy. No Patti would not have had long running insurance, but she could have taken it out after meeting with the Angel of Debt. I thought it was going to be announced at the end that Lynn had actually facilitated her in getting a policy before the murders and that the money did end up going to Ben's legal fees. Of course if I remember correctly that would have conflicted with Ben being defended by public defenders. I think that was mentioned early in the story.

I kept expecting an ending where Ben actually had done it all. But didn't feel cheated that it didn't happen that way. And thought i think this one slightly weaker than Sharper Objects it still was a good read. Kept me interested. Good writing. Good development of characters. Will look forward to her next offering.
D. Berdanis answered on March 26, 2010
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Since this is labeled a spoiler thread, I don't see why we can't specifically mention it. As far as I recall, the Angel of Debt guy stabbed the mother, as agreed, but also killed one of the daughters unintentionally - it was clearly stated that he was willing to plead to the girl, but to none of the debtors (including the mother) as those were "consensual" in his mind; I cannot recall exactly how things went so wrong at the last minute with him though, leading him to shoot the mother after stabbing her already, and to axe the girl. Either someone else can chip in with specifics, or you'll have to re-read that scene near the end of the book for exact details.
The other daughter was killed (unintentionally) by Diondra, when she panicked that the girl would blab about her pregnancy (I think it was). Something like that.
So Ben was innocent, but if he hadn't gone down for murder, he would've faced several counts of child molestation instead.
John S. answered on August 3, 2011
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