Dark Places (Gillian Flynn)

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Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer. 

I’m honestly impressed. Mainly because Sharp Objects and Gone Girl were such huge flops for me. So, redemption in the form of Dark Places is a nice thing.

Gore. Blood. Disturbing. Harsh. Filth. Dark Places.

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I didn’t like a lot of the characters, actually I don’t think I liked any. Maybe Lyle? Meh, even he was strange. I don’t know, they were all pretty terrible. But I liked the story. I was borderline obsessed. I wanted to be greedy with all of the details so that I could keep them all to myself and solve everything on my own. Na-na-boo-boo. And Gillian let us do that! Her writing was so eerie that the pieces you picked up on, they were all yours. To piece however way you wanted them to fit.

“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it. It’s the Day blood. Something’s wrong with it. I was never a good little girl, and I got worse after the murders. Little Orphan Libby grew up sullen and boneless, shuffled around a group of lesser relatives—second cousins and great-aunts and friends of friends—stuck in a series of mobile homes or rotting ranch houses all across Kansas. Me going to school in my dead sisters’ hand-me-downs: Shirts with mustardy armpits. Pants with baggy bottoms, comically loose, held on with a raggedy belt cinched to the farthest hole. In class photos my hair was always crooked—barrettes hanging loosely from strands, as if they were airborne objects caught in the tangles—and I always had bulging pockets under my eyes, drunk-landlady eyes. Maybe a grudging curve of the lips where a smile should be. Maybe. I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.”

I shared that because it’s an amazing part of the book. It really is.

I really liked the multiple POV’s and the past and present way of writing out the story. It felt more believable in that sense. Not to mention, Gillian seems to always tie up her loose ends. Leaving nothing for the reader to sit and wonder on. “But what happened with….” No, none of that here. I’ll give her that.

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My one complaint is this: the ending wasn’t as “explosive” as I thought it would be. It didn’t end how I wanted it to, I guess you could say. But the way it ended wasn’t horrible either.

Dark Places was an emotionally dark story that really had great development. I’m really happy that I picked it up and read it. If you like solving cold case files or murder cases, Dark Places is for you.

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