October 4, 2012

Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Hardcover
Excerpt here
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

Libby Day, the heroine of Gillian Flynn's DARK PLACES, reminded me of Chuck Wendig's Miriam Black and Tim O'Rourke's Black Hill Farm. Or maybe it should be reversed since DARK PLACES was published before these series. In any case, I totally loved this book! This is my first GFlynn novel and I wasn't disappointed. Her pretty head has a lot of darkness going on and I am loving it!
My brother slaughtered my family when I was seven. My mom, two sisters, gone: bang bang, chop chop, choke choke. 
I will no longer relate the plot as the synopsis is pretty straightforward in telling you what the book is about. I will instead tell you about GFlynn's anti-hero, Libby Day, she's crass, a parasite profiting from selling her family's tragedy to anybody who'll pay. She's a kleptomaniac, taking comfort from other people's things because she doesn't like her own. But as I get to know more about her back story, I ended up giving her certain allowances for her current behavior due to her pitiful past and I can't even begin to imagine what she had to go through after her family's massacre and the knowledge that it was her sketchy testimony that sent her brother to prison. Even with these soul scarring details, Libby didn't break down nor did she feel remorse for her role in her brother's trial or apologetic for the life she led. She simply dusted herself off, made things right and tried to mend fences.

DARK PLACES is like peeling an onion, GFlynn's flash-forward style of storytelling helped me stay engaged in the story and my curiosity teased to no end. GFlynn keeps this steady beat throughout the story that slowly breaks into this jaw dropping crescendo that's a complete 180 from where the story started. Some facts are telling like we know Ben isn't really guilty but before we got to that part we'll feel the miserable life the Days lived, the desperation and their plea for escape. GFlynn explored the ugly side of human beings, how some people prey and exploit other's weaknesses until the last resort for escape is death.

I totally believe our blood is bad. I feel it in me. I've beaten the shit out of people, Ben. Me. I've busted in doors and windows and... I've killed things.         -Libby 
DARK PLACES is a mystery that was carefully plotted and brilliantly written. The characters are so dark it's almost evil and not in a supernatural way, rather she explored her characters' twisted psyches and motives, invested in a thought and followed it up with a decisive action that led to a tragic series of events. GFlynn will play with your mind, go to that disturbing place where we are reminded that stories like this happen in real life and most of the time, the perps are as evil as the crimes they've committed. I wish there's book two because though the ending is satisfactory, I'm still left bloodthirsty.

If Gone Girl is anything close or even better than this, I wouldn't be surprised why it's been topping the bestseller charts for weeks which also explains why I've been waiting for 3 months for the copy to be available in the library.


  1. The wait for Gone Girl is crazy at my library, too; I'll probably just buy a copy eventually. Dark Places sounds like it'll tide me over until I get to read Gone Girl, and even better, my library has it! I'll try to pick it up ASAP.

    1. I know it's crazy! Yeah read this one, Flynn isn't afraid to explore the dark side LOL

  2. Wow, I've never heard of Dark Places before, but it sounds exactly like my kind of book - I love anti-heroes! I'll definitely read this!

    Thanks for the fantastic review, Braine!

  3. sounds so creepy and dark. I dunno if I should read this or not.....

  4. I definitely want to make time to read this one, it sounds fantastically creepy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  5. A new to me book and it sounds good. The Kill Club? Yeah - I want to read it!
    - Jessica @ Book Sake

  6. OOo this reminded you of BHF, I shall have to check this one out. Glad you loved it! I love it when you get excited about a book. I've not heard of this one, thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  7. Right, I need to read this one - I LOVED Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn writes some seriously good bad characters!

    Great review, this is going right up my TBR!

  8. Going to buy this NOW! My optometrist was reading Gone Girl. I told her about book blogs, she came to mine and said she liked it and is investigating more blogs!
    I love introducing ppl to everyone's blogs <3


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