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Dark Places

by Gillian Flynn

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,0933861,057 (3.83)272
For a price Libby Day will reconnect with the players that murdered her mother and two sisters in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas." Having testified that her brother Ben was the murderer on that fateful night twenty-five years ago, now she is not so sure as, piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started--on the run from a killer.… (more)
  1. 82
    Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (kraaivrouw)
  2. 50
    In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Dark Places was undoubtedly influenced by In Cold Blood, but brings an interesting form of storytelling to superficially similar plot lines.
  3. 41
    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (becksdakex)
  4. 20
    Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (sturlington)
  5. 10
    A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: A similarly troubled protagonist and an equally tensely-plotted and well written mystery.
  6. 00
    Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These intricately plotted, fast paced and suspenseful murder mysteries feature young women struggling with dark family secrets and intense drama. Both expertly switch between past and present to slowly reveal disturbing truths.
  7. 00
    The Fault Tree by Louise Ure (RidgewayGirl)
  8. 00
    Every Dead Thing by John Connolly (kraaivrouw)
  9. 12
    In the Woods by Tana French (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These psychological suspense novels feature characters who, as young children, witness horrible crimes and must now revisit their painful pasts to discover the truth. The stories are fast paced, chilling, and atmospheric.
  10. 12
    Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult (VictoriaPL)
  11. 01
    The Dark Rose by Erin Kelly (amyblue)
    amyblue: Both books have a strong sense of place, compelling main characters and involve both a present day and a past story. Also both are very intricately plotted thrillers.
  12. 13
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt (SomeGuyInVirginia)
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» See also 272 mentions

English (370)  Dutch (5)  French (2)  German (2)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (382)
Showing 1-5 of 370 (next | show all)
A character based mystery told in two timelines, 1985 and present day. In a nutshell: 3 family members are killed. A 7 year old lived through it and her 16 year old brother is accused and convicted. Twenty four years later, Libby (the survivor), is contacted by a "Kill Club", a group of amateurs who look into murder cases, and asked to speak to the club, for a lot of money! This causes Libby to think about what she has not wanted to think about for 24 years. It also begins a chain of events that explains the murders. I did not find this exciting or scary. I loved Flynn's Gone Girl, but this is about so much teen angst: drugs, sex, satan, etc., that it became repetitive and formulaic. I did not find any characters to like and the ending was a bit disappointing. I listened to this on Audiobook and the reader was very good ( )
  Tess_W | Feb 28, 2022 |
Wow. What a ride. This is the second book I have read by this author. She is an amazing weaver of damaged characters and convoluted plots that keep you enthralled. I never thought I would enjoy a dark book, with so many layers twisted around, so much. I still haven't decided if I liked anyone at all. I did however invest in the characters. How much is that like real life? I feel that way about a lot of people in my life. Even when I figured out what happened I still was engrossed in how it would all play out. Masterful storytelling! I enjoyed it even more than Gone Girl. ( )
  Wulfwyn907 | Jan 30, 2022 |
OMG you guys I am officially a Gillian Flynn fangirl! This book doesn't just stab you in the gut, it twists the knife and watches all the gory bits that come out.

Flynn is kind of unusual in that her books have no real "heroes." Just because a person is "innocent," that does not automatically mean he or she is "good" or even "nice." But somehow, Flynn makes you want to stick with her characters right to the end. Libby has flaws, to put it lightly - she is selfish, aggressive, even violent, yet at the same time you don't want anything bad to happen to her. ( )
  doryfish | Jan 29, 2022 |
This book has just reinforced my conclusion that Gillian Flynn has a really really twisted mind. Her characters in this novel are as dark and disturbed―also quite disturbing―as those in her other works.
The narrative alternates between the past - when a boy of fifteen massacred his mother and two sisters twenty-five years ago, and the present - when the surviving third sister starts doubting her conviction about her brother's guilt and tries to find the truth.
I enjoyed this unputdownable thriller a lot and would recommend it to those who like a bit, well, more like a lot, of darkness in their literary landscape. ( )
  aravind_aar | Nov 21, 2021 |
ehhhhh

In a nutshell: strong characterisation and good craft/writing, with a very atmospheric setting. But the novel was structurally messy, the main character has motivation and/or passivity issues, and the final reveal is incredibly convoluted.

Without wanting to give any spoilers, I feel like the author was perhaps bending and warping events to create a specific emotional state for one character (who isn't the MC). Plot events were therefore rather unbelievable to me, in the final order of what went down. Finally, the emotional state she was going for felt melodramatic and unnecessary to me. It's the equivalent of ripping seams out of your clothes to make them fit: the hassle and damage to the overall fabric isn't worth the final result. Yeah the shirt fits but you look like a mess. The ending to this book looks like a mess.



Some spoilery stuff:

I feel like the novel could perhaps have themed more strongly around Libby and her relationship to her mother. It's there, hints of it, but instead it starts out focusing on her relationship with Ben (older brother who goes down for the triple murder.) There was more that could have been made of it, but it didn't really happen. Thematically stuff was all over the place, much like the MC. Redherrings were used so frequently and routinely that I just didn't trust any hint.


There's something off with the pacing, the build-up to the big reveals; I struggle to identify what exactly, although I'll think on it some more.

Edited to add: if I were beta-reading this novel, I'd absolutely be recommending that the author cut down the number of characters and streamline the plot. Instead of 4 children, have 3; Debby is the irrelevant one.

Have the hitman turn up, as the mother requests. While he's killing the mother, Diondra and Ben can be threatening michelle for snooping. Michelle flees from them and runs into the hitman, who can still panic and still kill her. Libby still runs off. Then Ben and Diondra are "implicated" but less out of character guilty (and less plot contortions to make Diondra so absurdly, melodramatically evil).

The end result is more or less the same--Ben feeling guilty and going to jail to protect selfish Diondra, who runs off to have his child. Michelle and Patty dead. Libby surviving. But no "double murder" that night which was as absurd a set up as I've ever read. ( )
  Sunyidean | Sep 7, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 370 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gillian Flynnprimary authorall editionscalculated
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dean, RobertsonNarratorsecondary 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
“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.”
“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.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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For a price Libby Day will reconnect with the players that murdered her mother and two sisters in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas." Having testified that her brother Ben was the murderer on that fateful night twenty-five years ago, now she is not so sure as, piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started--on the run from a killer.

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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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