Gillian Flynn: Dark Places

Gilliam Flynn Dark Places Square

Book 90 of 100

NOTE: As noted in my December 2018 update, I will start posting my thoughts on the books I read as I complete them. If you want to continue receiving the monthly update, please subscribe to my newsletter.

Flynn is probably best know for Gone Girl (a good book, but many remember it as a movie starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike though I have to admit never having seen it.) Gone Girl was the author’s third book; Dark Places was the second.

Be forewarned: Dark Places is quite dark. From a heinous murder to Satanic rituals involving animal sacrifices to child abuse, the novel leaves few dark corners unexplored.

Libby Day can only be described as a mess. She has lived her whole life off of money she “earned” from the murder of her mother and two sisters when she was 7, a book deal as well as donations that poured in at the story of a young orphan. Confronted with the fact that the money is gone, she agrees to accept money from a “true-crime” group. They believe her brother, serving a life sentence for the murders, is innocent. Just one tiny problem – he is in jail partially due to the testimony of Libby herself.

The story is told in multiple voices: present day Libby as she meets the people from her past and asks about their memories as well as both her mother and brother telling their story from the past. Each view knows only what they know, so the story is revealed through contradictions and similarities of these versions.

The best part of the book is the mystery. This isn’t a simple “the brother is innocent” story as you learn how screwed up he and his friends were and all the bad things that they did. Nor are there a lack of other suspects as most of the other characters are pretty seedy.

And that’s my problem. I had a hard time finding anyone to root for other than maybe the mother (who you know from the very first pages doesn’t have a happy ending).

Still, I found the overall story entertaining, the mystery good (if a little convoluted), and the read worthwhile.

Weird note here – When I started writing this, I looked to link this back to my review of Gone Girl. Only thing was I couldn’t find it. I had checked the ebook out from my library and read it in August. The library records show it. But, Goodreads, which supposedly automatically tracks these things, failed to show it as read. So my reading of Gone Girl was gone (yeah, I know). Anyway, you may have noticed that my count of books read jumped by 1 and this was the cause. Hopefully, my new approach of reviewing books as I read them will help me spot such errors. Not that it really matters.

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