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Dark Places Paperback – May 4, 2010
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Named one of the Best Books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly
A Weekend TODAY “Top Summer Read”
The New Yorker's Reviewers' Favorite from 2009
A 2009 Favorite Fiction Pick by The Chicago Tribune
“[A] nerve-fraying thriller.”
—The New York Times
“Flynn’s well-paced story deftly shows the fallibility of memory and the lies a child tells herself to get through a trauma.”
—The New Yorker
“Gillian Flynn coolly demolished the notion that little girls are made of sugar and spice in Sharp Objects, her sensuous and chilling first thriller. In DARK PLACES, her equally sensuous and chilling follow-up, Flynn…has conjured up a whole new crew of feral and troubled young females….[A] propulsive and twisty mystery.”
“Flynn follows her deliciously creepy Sharp Objects with another dark tale . . . The story, alternating between the 1985 murders and the present, has a tense momentum that works beautifully. And when the truth emerges, it’s so macabre not even twisted little Libby Day could see it coming.”
—People (4 stars)
“Crackles with peevish energy and corrosive wit.”
—Dallas Morning News
“A riveting tale of true horror by a writer who has all the gifts to pull it off.”
"In her first psychological thriller, Sharp Objects, Flynn created a world unsparingly grim and nasty (the heroine carves words into her own flesh) written with irresistibly mordant humor. The sleuth in her equally disturbing and original second novel is Libby Day....It's Flynn's gift that she can make a caustic, self-loathing, unpleasant protagonist someone you come to root for.”
—New York Magazine
“[A] gripping thriller.”
"Gillian Flynn is the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre.”
“Gillian Flynn’s writing is compulsively good. I would rather read her than just about any other crime writer.”
“Dark Places grips you from the first page and doesn't let go.”
“With her blistering debut Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn hit the ground running. Dark Places demonstrates that was no fluke.”
“Dark Places' Libby Day may seem unpleasant company at first–she's humoring those with morbid curiosities about her family's murders in order to get money out of them–but her steely nature and sharp tongue are compelling. 'I have a meanness inside me,'she says, 'real as an organ.'Yes she does, and by the end of this pitch-black novel, after we've loosened our grip on its cover and started breathing deeply again, we're glad Flynn decided to share it.”
—Jessa Crispin, NPR.org
“Flynn returns to the front ranks of emerging thriller writers with her aptly titled new novel . . . Those who prefer their literary bones with a little bloody meat will be riveted.”
“Gillian Flynn may turn out to be a more gothic John Irving for the 21st century, a writer who uses both a surgeon's scalpel and a set of rusty harrow discs to rip the pretty face off middle America.”
—San Jose Mercury News
“The world of this novel is all underside, all hard flinch, and Flynn’s razor-sharp prose intensifies this effect as she knuckles in on every sentence. . . . The slick plotting in DARK PLACES will gratify the lover of a good thriller–but so, too, will Flynn’s prose, which is ferocious and unrelenting and pure pleasure from word one.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Gillian Flynn’s second novel, DARK PLACES, proves that her first – Sharp Objects – was no fluke. . . . tough, surprising crime fiction that dips its toes in the deeper waters of literary fiction.”
"Flynn fully inhabits Libby—a damaged woman whose world has resided entirely in her own head for the majority of her life and who is prone to dark metaphors: 'Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.' Half the fun of DARK PLACES is Libby’s swampy psychology, which Flynn leads us through without the benefit of hip waders.”
—Time Out Chicago
“Clever, engrossing and disturbing….[DARK PLACES] should cement [Flynn’s] place in the great authors of crime fiction.”
“[D]eliciously creepy...Flynn follows 250-some pages of masterful plotting and character development with a speedway pileup of pulse-pounding revelations.”
“A genuinely shocking denouement.”
“Sardonic, riveting . . . Like Kate Atkinson, Flynn has figured out how to fuse the believable characters, silken prose and complex moral vision of literary fiction to the structure of a crime story. . . . You can sense trouble coming like a storm moving over the prairie, but can't quite detect its shape.”
—Laura Miller, Salon.com
“These characters are fully realized—so true they could step off the page….hints of what truly happened to the Day family feel painfully, teasingly paced as they forge an irresistible trail to the truth….Could. Not. Stop. Reading.”
“Libby’s voice is a pitch-perfect blend of surliness and emotionally charged imagery. . . . The Kansas in these pages is a bleak, deterministic place where bad blood and lies generate horrifically unintended consequences. Though there’s little redemption here, Flynn manages to unearth the humanity buried beneath the squalor.”
“Set in the bleak Midwest of America, this evocation of small-town life and dysfunctional people is every bit as horribly fascinating as Capote’s journalistic retelling of a real family massacre, In Cold Blood, which it eerily resembles. This is only Flynn’ s second crime novel–her debut was the award-winning Sharp Objects–and demonstrates even more forcibly her precocious writing ability and talent for the macabre.”
—Daily Mail (UK)
“Flynn’s second novel is a wonderful evocation of drab small-town life. The time-split narrative works superbly and the atmosphere is eerily macabre—Dark Places is even better than the author’s award-winning Sharp Objects.”
—The Guardian (UK)
“A gritty, riveting thriller with a one-of-a-kind, tart-tongued heroine.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Flynn’s second crime thriller tops her impressive debut, Sharp Objects…When the truth emerges, it’s so twisted that even the most astute readers won’t have predicted it.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The sole survivor of a family massacre is pushed into revisiting a past she’d much rather leave alone, in Flynn’s scorching follow-up to Sharp Objects . . . Flynn intercuts Libby’s venomous detective work with flashbacks to the fatal day 24 years ago so expertly that as they both hurtle toward unspeakable revelations, you won’t know which one you’re more impatient to finish. . . . every sentence crackles with enough baleful energy to fuel a whole town through the coldest Kansas winter.”
“Once in a while a book comes along that puts a new spin on an old idea. More than 40 years ago, Truman Capote took readers inside the Clutter farmhouse in Holcomb, KS, to show them what it was like to walk in a killer's shoes. Flynn takes modern readers back to Kansas to explore the fictional 1985 Day family massacre from the perspective of a survivor as well as the suspects. . . . tight plotting and engaging characters.”
About the Author
GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl, and the New York Times bestsellers Dark Places and Sharp Objects. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, she lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
Top customer reviews
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A seven year-old little girl, Libby, testifies against her older brother Ben for the murders of her two older sisters and her mom. With Libby's words and other evidence, Ben is sentenced to life in prison.
Twenty five years later, Libby is contacted by the Kill Club. This club is one that is interested in crimes and the people involved. This club wants details from Libby. Libby is willing to do this for a price. Suffice it to say, Libby is a little messed up from being in the middle of the murders, surviving, living her life dealing with that awful night.
This Kill Club is also definitely convinced that Ben is NOT the murderer and they hope that by talking to Libby, Ben will be a free man.
So, we are off and running. I loved how this book went from past and present, jumping back and forth and explaining how events led up to that doomed night, all from various characters points-of-views. Who was involved. Who wasn't involved. Why this happened. Why this didn't happen. Flynn has a flair for writing and keeping the reader guessing and involved. The characters are disturbed, mean, calculating, believable. The situations shocking.
One thing that really bothered me was the graphic details of animal abuse and mayhem. While a part of the book and story, I didn't really appreciate reading the minute details of the slaughter of innocent animals/humans. Even though this is a murder who-dun-it, the graphics of the animal/human carnage was upsetting to me. However, as mentioned, this is all part of the story and unfortunately probably had to be.
All in all, a good read, one that will keep you guessing, keep you up until the wee hours.
Gillian Flynn has a way of creating a love-hate relationship between her characters and her readers. You love how well developed the characters are but find yourself annoyed with their flaws. Which to mean is a sign of a great writer.
This story is based on the tragic, brutal murder of a low-income, farming family. Of the family of five, only two survive, the youngest daughter, Libby Day, who is our heroine, and the oldest brother, Ben, who has been serving prison sentence for the murders for the last 25 years.A young Libby becomes the key witness of the murder case and is coerced into confessing that she witnessed her brother, Ben, commit the murders. Libby to this day is tormented by the brutal death of her mother and sisters and has never really learned how to be a functioning member of society. After 25 years of living off the donations of others and profits from a book she allowed to be written about her and her family's tragedies, the money has run out. Libby must find others ways to pay the bills. Knowing there is no way she will be able to hold down a real job, she decides to meet with members of the Kill Club, a cult-like fan club that dedicates their time obsessing over old murder cases such as the Day's.
Members of the Kill Club all have their own theories about who actually killed Libby's family and though they may not all agree on who exactly did it, they all agree that there was no way Ben himself did. With money on the mind, Libby, with the guidence of one of the main Kill Club members, Lyle, begins tracking down people from her past to ask the questions she never had the guts to ask before. As more and more facts present themselves, the more Libby is convinced her Brother is innocent. And she is the one responsible for him being locked up the last 25 years.
Finally facing the demons of her past, Libby dives into the mysterious circumstances surrounding her family's murders to seek the truth she never thought she wanted.
When Libby runs out of money and becomes desperate to survive without actually earning the money through the means of a real job, she begins considering the offer put forth by a mysterious identity who is a part of a secret “Kill Club” that focuses on notorious crimes, and begins her journey to answers.
With doubts of the reality of the events that actually occurred on that freezing Kansas night, Libby is forced to open her eyes to the possibility that the brother she has despised over the past two and a half decades may not actually be the killer of her beloved mother and two sisters.
Between the flashbacks to how life was before the murders and Libby’s life now, it’s easy to begin wondering if everything that you personally remember from your childhood is actually fact or fiction. —- Throughout the novel I found myself questioning Bens innocence and trying to piece together what happened that night along with Libby. I at times found myself on the edge of my seat wondering what’s going to happen next and wondering who the killer truly was, or if it really was Ben all along. In a similar twisted fashion as Flynn’s book Sharp Objects, I anticipated a crazy twist. Whilst this book lacked in the “super sick” twist department, it still had a lot of unpredictability to offer its readers.
I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone looking for a fast paced psychological thriller.
Most recent customer reviews
Cons: A little slow to start out, once you realise where the story...Read more
Gillian Flynn has a unique and grotesque writing style that she uses in all three of her novels.Read more