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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
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Dark Places (edition 2009)

by Gillian Flynn

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,3691522,648 (3.85)174
Member:Pigletto
Title:Dark Places
Authors:Gillian Flynn
Info:Phoenix (2009), Kindle Edition, 370 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:mystery, thriller, usa, read in 2013

Work details

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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English (143)  Dutch (5)  French (2)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (152)
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
The movie adaptation of this book is scheduled to be released sometime in 2014. I recommend seeing it, but only after reading the book. This is one of those suspense/mystery stories that will lose the element of surprise if you see the movie before the book. Besides, the book was so good, I can’t imagine the movie topping it. Gillian Flynn has done it again. If you read and liked Gone Girl, you will also like this one. It keeps you guessing until the end. Libby Day has had a hard life. Her sisters and mother were murdered in their home when Libby was just seven years old. Her testimony of what happened that night put her older brother, Ben, in prison for life. Libby is now thirty years old. She’s lived off of the money people donated to her after the story of the murders broke in the press. She’s now almost out of money with no work history and, frankly, no motivation to go to work. She’s desperate to find more money and ends up meeting with a group of people who seem to be obsessed with the murders who are willing to pay her for souvenirs and extra information she can give them. The biggest problem with this though, is that these people believe her brother is innocent. This puts Libby in the position of having to reflect back on that night and confront the possibility that maybe she was mistaken in her testimony when she was seven, and her brother has been innocent but imprisoned all these years. This book follows Libby as she tries to discover the truth about what happened that night when her life was changed forever. See my other reviews and features at http://bookwormbookreviews.com ( )
  Aeroette | Sep 22, 2014 |
I agree with the high praise for Gillian Flynn in the earlier reviews posted below. I, too, decided to read more of her work after reading Gone Girl. Generally, I don't like this genre of mystery writing, but Ms. Flynn develops her characters so well that the story has depth I so often find lacking in this kind of book. I'm sure to read more by this author. ( )
  LynnB | Sep 21, 2014 |
The Basics

Libby Day’s mother and two sisters were murdered when she was seven years old. When asked who did it, she said without hesitation that it was her brother, Ben. Now upon being contacted by a club of murder case enthusiasts, she’s wondering if she was right. She sets out on a mission to, well, make some money but also hopefully to find some answers.

My Thoughts

Gillian Flynn strikes again. On the heels of Gone Girl, I found myself obsessed with obtaining and blasting through her other, two books. I tackled this one first, and it’s proven to be my favorite of her work thus far. Deeply written, fully realized characters at the center of a crazy, incredible, gory mystery. It really is all I could’ve hoped for in a thriller and more. Calling it a thriller feels small, because it’s of such a quality that you so rarely see in the genre.

Libby is one of the most engaging and fascinating heroines I’ve ever read. She’s flawed and unique. She’s snarky and cold, yet not distant to us as an audience. She’s damaged and relatable. The thing that had me from the very first page was Libby. I wanted to follow her, and I wanted to hear her voice. Flynn cackles in the face of this idea of “likeable” characters. She writes intensely interesting characters with real world problems, and I welcome that a lot sooner than a female lead who is picture perfect.

Along with Libby’s journey to find the truth, we get point-of-view chapters from her mother and brother the day of the murders. We get a firsthand view of the desperation her mother faced, the depression and peer pressure piling atop fifteen-year-old Ben, and the circumstances that led to such catastrophe. I will say that while I found Patty to be a tragic figure, I wasn’t as keen on Ben. Yet here’s the rub: I’m not sure we were supposed to be. Regardless of the outcome, Ben is still a person with an illness, and Flynn simply presents that without trying to create an anti-hero of him, as she does with Patty and Libby as well. It’s less about Flynn’s opinions and more about your own mileage.

I’ve heard some people didn’t buy the ending, but I actually loved how much she caught me off guard with it. I could never have seen that coming. The clues were there, and yet I wouldn’t have jumped to that conclusion. I appreciate it wasn’t entirely out of left field, but it was still shocking. That’s a precarious balance, and she does it well.

What am I saying? She did everything in this book well. The entire experience was amazing, and I simply can’t get enough of her work.

Final Rating

5/5 ( )
  Nickidemus | Sep 18, 2014 |
After reading the talented Ms. Flynn's 'Sharp Objects' and 'Gone Girl' I wanted to read this novel also. I'm sorry I waited so long to read it and highly recommend it to anyone who likes dark murder mysteries.

The protagonist is Libby whose single mother and two older sisters were murdered in 1985 when she was only 7 years old. The novel switches between then in the third person with the mother and older brother, Ben (who is in prison for the murders), and now (25 years later) with Libby narrating.

The characters are very well-developed and most of the them are unlikable. As Libby tries to determine whether or not Ben actually committed the murders, you'll find yourself routing for her even though she is in a depressed and hopeless state due to the murders and her subsequent horrific upbringing by various relatives.

This is a real page-turner but be forewarned that there are grisly, devil-worshipping scenes along with poverty, drugs and teen sex. ( )
  pegmcdaniel | Sep 5, 2014 |
Six-word review: Aftermath of horrific crime never ends.

Extended review:

Be warned by the title: this novel is very dark indeed.

After reading all three of her novels published to date (this being the second and by far the darkest), I have to say that Gillian Flynn either knows, or imagines, or is some very, very strange women.

In this case the woman is the survivor of a murderous rampage that took the lives of her mother and two sisters. Only seven at the time, Libby Day escaped and later supplied court testimony that sent her older brother Ben to prison for the deed. Her life has been understandably overshadowed by the experience, but even at that Libby seems to be a profoundly warped individual. It is a tribute to the genius of the author that we can identify with her at all sympathetically.

Now in her thirties, Libby is forced to revisit the circumstances surrounding a soul-destroying event that has shaped her life and reexamine the validity of her own testimony.

Libby is also surrounded by characters who are in their own way as messed up as she, conferring on her an appearance of relative normality that is creepy in itself.

Even though the narrative stays within the realm of the real, meaning that there's no magic, no fantasy, no supernatural agents, nothing that would be impossible in the course of real-world cause and effect, Flynn's stories push the boundaries of the probable and the plausible pretty hard. It's the treading just barely within the constraints of consensual reality that gives them an eerie, shuddery quality that prickles the skin: that and a gripping style that reaches for the edges of words and grasps them by their sharp sides.

For a single example, here's the sort of line I love in Gillian Flynn's writing: "The frenetic, zigzag music started scribbling on Ben's brain" (page 272).

There's also a description of tripping, starting on page 274, that is so vivid that it makes me feel as if I were on something myself. I can't attest to the authenticity of it, but it sounds genuine to me.

On the other hand, Gillian, just to let you know: I wish I didn't keep running into lines like this: "Her lips were plump as labias" (page 305). Restated, Gillian, that would be "Her lips were as plump as lipses." We know what you mean, and we get the intended effect, but it still counts as a black mark. Labia is a plural already, the Latin plural of labium, and it means "lips." Authors can't do everything; but your editor, whose job it is to spare you embarrassment, should have caught this.

I awarded four stars to this work, not recommended for overly sensitive souls, but surely one of the most extraordinary explorations of family bonds and of coming to terms with personal history that I have seen in a while. ( )
  Meredy | Sep 2, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gillian Flynnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dean, RobertsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lowman, RebeccaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lyytinen, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The Days were a clan that mighta lived long, But Ben Day's head got screwed on wrong, That boy craved dark Satan's power, So he killed his family in one nasty hour, Little Michelle he strangled in the night, Then chopped up Debby: a bloody sight, Mother Patty he saved for last, Blew off her head with a shotgun blast, Baby Libby somehow survived, But to live through that ain't much a life --Schoolyard Rhyme, circa 1985
Dedication
To my dashing husband, Brett Nolan
First words
I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.
Quotations
Libby Day "I have 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."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Libby Day, still haunted by the day she witnessed the murder of her family on their farm in Kinnakee, Kansas, and twenty-five-years after testifying that her fifteen-year-old brother Ben was the killer, Libby is contacted by the Kill Club and devises a money making scheme that leads her back into a killer's path.
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After witnessing the murder of her mother and sisters, seven-year-old Libby Day testifies against her brother Ben, but twenty-five years later she tries to profit from her tragic history and admit that her story might not have been accurate.

(summary from another edition)

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