Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places by Gillian FlynnEveryone has hobbies. I enjoy reading and cooking. In Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, members of the Kill Club make murder their hobby. The Kill Club is comprised of individuals obsessed with horrific murder cases. Those obsessed with “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas” reach out to Libby Day, the only surviving victim of the massacre that took the life of her two older sisters and mother. Her brother, fifteen at the time, spends his life in prison after being convicted of the brutal crimes. Members of the Kill Club obsessed with her family are also convinced that her brother Ben did not commit the crime.

Libby has spent the last 25 years “not thinking about it” which really has not worked out too well for her. Her Aunt Diane truly tried her best to help Libby, but could not handle her violent and destructive acting out. Libby was eventually sent to distant relatives until she reached adulthood. Now in her mid-thirties, she is finally running out of the money donated by those once concerned with the fate of “Orphan Day” as she was nicknamed by the media. Her desperation for money is matched by members of the Kill Club’s need for information. They want to ask her questions, buy her family souvenirs and convince her to help free her brother. Libby stands by her testimony and her survivor sense of self-preservation is fierce. She gives into their demands for information and to reconnect with her past. She finds out new things about her family and the horrible event that defines her world.

What really puts this book into page-turner overdrive is how Flynn alternates viewpoints each chapter between:

-extremely jaded, present day Libby,
-the confused teenager, soon to be convicted murderer Ben,
-and the worried, always at loose ends, soon to be dead mom Patty.

So you have the present day Libby trying to process the past that she refers to as “dark places” while trying to survive financially and emotionally. You also have Ben and Patty on the day leading up to and the day of the murder adding unknown facts to an infamous case. The twists and turns are reminiscent of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster from a few years ago, and the setting is very similar to In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. This book also examines the 80’s frenzied fear of Satan worshipers as well as today’s current obsessive rush to exonerate those wrongly convicted. Dark Places is a well-constructed, exciting and disturbing page turner.

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One Response to “Dark Places by Gillian Flynn”

  1. heidirodriguez Says:

    I love your review. I agree with it, too 🙂 I think Flynn’s best work to date is “Sharp Objects.”

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