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Dark Places
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on April 22, 2017
How can you not be a messed up person when (1) your family is slaughtered and (2) you testify you brother did it? Or did he? as the KC asks. The KC - Kill Club - amateur and professional sleuths who pick famous murders and try to solve them correctly. It's this club that pays Libby, now a hard up, broken down shell of a woman, to speak them about "that night".
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on July 30, 2017
Extremely well written yet painful to read. Another mystery that I didn't correctly guess until very close to the end. Being 7 years old and hearing your family massacred is beyond horrible, and then believing that your big brother was the murderer warps your existence and psyche. What earns 5 stars is the skill Gillian Flynn brings to storytelling. I have another of her books, but I'll need to read a few less emotionally charged books before I read another.
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on May 7, 2015
I read Gone Girl, and then swore I wouldn't read another Flynn novel because I was so put out over the end (which I won't spoil for anyone). Then I downloaded Sharp Objects, and then I downloaded Dark Places. She is an amazing plotter, and anyone trying to write should analyze how she does it. There is also something about her voice that sucks you in, and, even though I am more a fan of comedy, she cons you into reading on. In fact, I couldn't put her three novels down. Additionally, she writes about the area that I grew up in (Missouri) and she nails it in a nonsappy no holes barred kind of way. She knows about the area she sets her novels in. And, quite frankly, now I know why I left. She is a great novelist, even though I'm still put out about the end of Gone Girl. I mean, really, Ms. Flynn?
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on November 20, 2014
What would you do if people who were trying to free your imprisoned brother offered you big
money to locate and ask your hobo father about how your mother and sisters were murdered?
If you make your living by ripping off prison groupies, you would see it as gravy. But, what if you
think your father might be the murderer? Well, you would go find him anyway! What?

Who thinks up such astonishing plots and characters? Gillian Flynn, of course, and you know that because you read "Gone Girl". This novel's personalities can similarly be recognized, like people you know, but you won't like them or respect them because they are experts at sweet talk which masks the illogical situations and leads to the dark places. You must seek the truth by yourself. I think the ending provides the closure you will need.
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on July 10, 2017
Gillian Flynn is brilliant. And scary. Dark Places was twisted and dark, tense and surprising. Libby Day was another trademark Flynn heroine: damaged, frightening, and not totally reliable. I had suspicions, but was never sure who murdered the Day family, and why. I love the hard twists, and the not knowing.

Dark Places had three main narrators, with another thrown in at the very end. All were excellent storytellers.
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on July 5, 2015
I both loved and hated this book. I loved it because it's written in true Gillian Flynn fashion - thrilling, articulate, vibrant and beautifully worded, but not at all contrived or overwrought; her characters come so alive and knowable, even if you've never met anyone like them. I "hated" it because it is haunting and repelling on a visceral level, and I found it to be highly uncomfortable to read at times. I started reading it on my honeymoon (kind of a strange choice for a beach read on a romantic trip, I know,) and I couldn't put it down. I found it fascinating and deeply disturbing. It's more gory than Gone Girl or Sharp Objects, but just as rich in character development and plot twists. Some of the scenes still pop into my head every once in awhile and I get that skin-crawly vibe, but I have a deep respect for any story that can keep coming back to me like that, albeit in a rather uncomfortable way. As is common with Gillian's books, the characters become very real and their intentions and humanistic strengths and flaws are explored deeply; most are generally unlikable but entirely relatable. Overall, I think this is a beautifully written story and it is incredibly multidimensional and suspenseful, but I don't know that I will read it again anytime soon because I did find that it put me in a weird mental head-space.
However, I really don't understand some of these reviews where people say they didn't like the book because they found Libby off-putting, or that they skipped over entire chapters for being too graphic - why would you even pick up a book like this, if you've got a weak stomach or are looking for a plucky heroine to save the day? And what makes you think you can write a review for a book you didn't read in this entirety? I happily give this book 5 stars because it delivers exactly what it promises - a dark, moving story that can be unseemly and rough around the edges and tends to get under your skin - and it is a showcase of exceptional writing skill.
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on November 29, 2015
I thought this book was very interesting. I couldn't put it down! I remember that time in the 80's and early 90's when everyone was freaked out about devil worshipping, listening to records played backwards, insisting that the songs were brainwashing kids with subliminal messages. Tipper Gore's public outrage and concern over this subliminal messaging is what comes to the forefront of my mind.

This book was interesting though because it was sort of true to a certain extent, describing a culture where an outcast could possibly fit in, with the plot taking an unexpected twist leaving you completely surprised. This is typical Gillian Flynn style, which basically means that there's nothing really typical about this book. It's unique and interesting. She writes some dark stuff, which isn't usually something I would read, but it's always so unexpected and original that I would read anything she wrote.

I read this book over the weekend, and if you're looking for a quick read that will you thinking about some pretty deep stuff for several days, then I recommend this book! Well, anything by Gilliam Flynn really. She's a great writer!
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Twenty-four years ago Libby Day's family was wiped out in one blood-soaked night, and her brother Ben is sitting in jail, in large part due to Libby's testimony. Now the sympathy money she got from strangers is running out, and she enters into a business relationship with the odd members of a Kill Club: she will use her influence to interview people involved with the case and earn a few thousand dollars, even though she disagrees with them that Ben was wrongfully convicted. But as she talks to those who knew parts of the night's events, she begins to wonder if she was mistaken. Is the killer still out there? Why is Ben willing to sit in jail even as he maintains his innocence?

As the mystery and its solution unfold, we move from chapter to chapter alternating between present-day Libby, and Ben and his mother on that horrific night, and the amazing story, while fascinating, still takes a backseat to the remarkable writing. Flynn, in this, her second book, captures the desperation of mother Patty and the dark panic of Ben as well as Libby's angry, depressed young woman with brilliant phrasing and superb dialogue. None of these characters are likable, but you can't put the book down.

"Someone had bought the property years ago, razed the house immediately, crushing walls my mother had prettied with cheap flowery posters, smashing windows we'd breathed against while waiting to see who was coming down the drive, splintering the doorframe where my mom had penciled the growth of Ben and my sisters but been too tired to chart me ..."

Wow. If you enjoy stylish psychological thrillers, you will love this book. I look forward to others by this author.
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on April 25, 2015
Libby Day is the soul survivor of her whole family being massacred when she was 7 years old. Her brother was the number one suspect and was sentenced to life in prison. Although she survived, she has lead a meaningless and sad existence. She can’t sleep with the lights off, she has no close friends or relatives, not even a job. Plus, there are still people who are claiming her brother is innocent of the horrendous crimes of that tragic night 25 years ago.

The more Libby is drawn to the world of justice for her brother the more she learns that it might not have been him at all. She is thrown into a world she never knew and she slowly discovers the truth. Will she survive long enough to find out what really happened that fateful night or be stopped before the truth can be discovered? What will become of her brother?

This book is messed up and yet so normal at the same time. The minuscule thoughts that we have day in and day out are written perfectly in this book. For example, sitting in a seat when it’s still warm from someone else and wiggling around to make it your own. This is a scenario described while visiting her brother in prison.

I enjoyed this book much more than Sharp Objects. The writing was real and genuinely disturbing. The family had been going through a lot for years, and your heart ached for each of them. I will say, however, that I was thrown off by the ending when everything comes to light. Not what I expected. That doesn’t make it bad, but the killer isn’t who I would have picked.
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on April 11, 2016
I stayed up entirely too late finishing this book & my thoughts on it are mostly good. Sometimes "popular, bestselling" author can be a double edged sword. It can give the impression of a less "literary" or "good" book and end up lumped in somewhere between chick lit and Seven Secrets of Chakra Successful People gibberish. But there are definitely authors that deserve the popular, bestselling accolades, as well as being talented enough to deserve the title. Gillian Flynn is one. She created a set of characters that all felt grounded and unique. The events that propelled the main protagonist forward felt natural enough and didn't seem too hasty. Twenty five year old habits did not die over night-which is good. Mrs. Flynn walks the line perfectly on gratuitous and gloss. (I despise when author's skitter over the bad, or sexual, or goriness of life events-but I also don't like things that seem placed in the story for shock value or cred). The plot is a family-mother and two daughters are brutally murdered on the family farm. The youngest, 7 year old Libby Day, survives as does her creepy seeming older brother, Ben, who is implicated-perhaps wrongly, in the murders and is currently serving his jail sentence. Libby has survived up until her early 30's with the stigma of being Baby Day-the survivor, and living off sympathy donations. The money is running out though, and she comes into contact with a group called The Kill Club that try to solve murder mysteries and are offering her money for information on her family's case. Begrudgingly, she begins to delve into her past-and the reader is kept guessing at what really happened. I had a million theories. About 3/4 of the way through, I figured I knew for sure how one part happened, but unless you're a SUPER astute reader you're probably not going to figure it out right off the bat. The ending does get tied up rather quickly, as with Gone Girl the author starts out great, with a great middle, then there's something vaguely incredulous that happens, and then a quick ending tied up neatly with a bow. I also never felt sympathy for Ben Day. I'm not sure if I was meant to, but I definitely did not.
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