- Paperback: 349 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 Reprint edition (May 4, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307341577
- ISBN-13: 978-0307341570
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9,329 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dark Places Paperback – May 4, 2010
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
All in all, I would recommend this book but with a little hesitation. If you are a Gillian Flynn fan, you won't be disappointed, as you're used to her style. I truly love her work, but would like her to finish them better before bowing to her as one of the greatest writers ever. For new readers of her work, start with something shorter, such as her novella in "Rogues", to see if her style is something you can appreciate.
Gillian Flynn is very good at creating suspense and maintaining it for a long time. Although it took me a while to get into Dark Places by the end I was very keen to find out how she was going to wrap it all up. Unfortunately the ending just didn't live up to its promise and was as nonsensical as the ending of Gone Girl. There's no way that Patty would see her death as the solution to her children's problems and the introduction of a stranger to perform the act felt like a cop out.
The character of Diondra also didn't make sense as she was very one-dimensional. Flynn seems to have a problem in giving her character's realistic depth which is a major weakness as she relies heavily on the "psychopath" trope. This is particularly evident at the end of the book when Diondra and her daughter Crystal are hunting Libby down after Crystal accidentally gives away the secret about Michelle's death. They hear Libby fall heavily as she is trying to escape and they laugh about it and Crystal makes a mocking comment. I can buy the fact that they could feel compelled to kill Libby to protect themselves, but to portray them as taking it so flippantly and enjoying her pain is just ridiculous, especially as they'd just been sharing a meal with her minutes earlier. Libby's desire to protect Crystal is equally unbelievable after she's seen what a sadist she is.
This book was written before Gone Girl but it shares the same flaws in my opinion. It was an okay read but I feel the author is capable of much better than this.