Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Published by: Broadway Books, May 4, 2010
Format/Source: Paperback I purchased.
Summary via Goodreads: 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.
I’m not even sure where to begin with this book. Dark Places was creepy, dark, and twisty and I absolutely loved it. I am now torn between Dark Places and Gone Girl for my favorite Gillian Flynn book. The characters were intriguing and I was blown away by how this story was told.
Libby is an interesting character. I was never sure if I loved her or hated her, as I did with most characters in this book. I was rooting for her though. Most of all I wanted her to finally learn the truth and find the closure she obviously needed. Her chapters were my favorite in the book. Her journey was interesting to read.
The flashback parts of the story are told through Libby’s brother Ben and her mother Patty, showing what happened on the day before and the day of the murders. You slowly get a glimpse into what really happened that night. We learn about a boy struggling to fit in and getting in with the wrong crowd. I found myself shaking my head a lot at Ben. He made so many stupid decisions, but at the same time he did have some redeeming qualities that eventually come to light.
We also start to learn about the strained relationship between Ben and Patty. She has a lot on her plate. The children’s father isn’t really around and she’s trying to run a farm that isn’t making any money. She is struggling to take care of her children and to keep the bill collectors at bay. She, like every other character in this book, made quite a few tough decisions that played a part in what happened that night.
When the truth about that night is finally revealed, it’s safe to say that I was shocked. I certainly didn’t see it coming. While reading, I formed theories in my head of what I thought happened and I was so far off. It was really interesting to see how all of the stories from all the different sources came together in the end.
I loved how dark this book was. I found it to be very intriguing and entertaining. If you like dark thrillers, you will like this book. I very much recommend it.