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.
©2009 Gillian Flynn; (P)2009 Random House
"Gillian Flynn is the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre." (Stephen King)
"A gritty, riveting thriller with a one-of-a-kind, tart-tongued heroine." (Booklist)
Libby, of course. She was narrated just right, with just exactly the right amount of hopelessness, desperation, and then determination.
I wanted to but couldn't. I would sit in my car an extra several minutes after arriving at work, though, just listening and trying to figure out who done it.
I've never written a review before. Never felt compelled. But after finishing this book tonight, felt I had to. This book kept me hopping from one suspect to the next, and just when I thought I had it figured out...I didn't. I've never given a book 5 stars before, even in my head. This one deserved every last little bit of stars.
Say something about yourself!
Gillian Flynn seams to have a knack for telling a story. She is able to put you smack in the middle of the fray. I had issues with the conclusion, but not enough to say this wasn't a masterfully crafted story. Kudos to the narrators.
Kneel Before Zod!!
Didn't read the print version, but this version is nicely done.
The way it was told, and the pace.
Meeting the fans of her brother.
An avid reader who cherishes my time with a good book!
I am a fan of Gillian Flynn. Not only is she an excellent story teller, she does something continually that amazes me...she creates characters that I often dislike and then, through the magic of her craft, I find myself hooked on them, cheering them on, routing for their cause. Much like I did in Gone Girl, I did not initially like the Libby but by the end, I was pulling for her the whole way through as she pursued the truth about her family's brutal murder. There are parts that are very graphic and brutal, this story is very viseral. Flynn's writing is razor sharp and she carries the plot all the way through, answering all the questions no matter how difficult or unappealing. I found myself listening, tense and fearful but unable to put the story away. I had to know what happens! Gillian Flynn is a master storyteller and Dark Places might just be my new favorite over Gone Girl!
There are few things better than a good story well told!
Definitely in the top 25. Great murder mystery with very real characters.
Yes! As unlikely as it might sound, it was a mass murder mystery. And the suspense and twists kept going until the very end.
Actually, as I was listening I didn't really notice the narrators so they did a good job of "doing no harm" to the story. Looking back I would say it was whoever was voice for the father and Trey.
I almost did. It is a compelling listen. I wanted to know just what the heck happened that night. And I am confident that no one will guess whodunnit.
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
Ms. Flynn is the best mystery writer I've encountered. The story is entirely unique and though one may guess who the real killer is, no one could remotely imagine how the mystery concludes.
It is a painful, dark mystery with characters entirely believable. The narration is exceptional. Highly recommended!
ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance
A marriage has gone wrong, four children each with their own issues overwhelm their mother, a father, irresponsible and self centered, caring only about money and a wife who is barely capable of functioning. A farm going broke in central Kansas. The rumor of Satanic rituals on the plains. This is truly a dark bleak novel with what love there is gone bad.
Finally, one terrible night, the farm is invaded and murder is done. The scene is told from the view of several different characters. The family, except for 7 year old Libby, is torn apart. Libby runs into the frozen January night, hiding from the monsters who have invaded her home. She looses toes and fingers to frostbite and her heart to the bleak life she is left with. Her brother is accused of the murders, Libby's life spirals into one foster home after another and we meet her again 25 years later, broke, afraid of everything, alone and looking for another way to avoid responsibility for her life. Looking for another way to avoid life itself.
This is truly a dark, sad and dismal story, with involved plot lines-several of them. Gillian Flynn shows mastery of dialogue and character development with each of the very flawed people in her story and, along with the gripping writing is fantastic narration performed by half a dozen different people. This made listening to the story almost like watching a movie for me. I could picture the action in my head as the story is performed.
There is a lot of backstory from 1985 then returning to modern day, especially telling Libby's and Ben's part. This can make for occasional confusion as to which character is speaking but usually it can be determined from clues at the beginning to the chapter.
Did I enjoy the book? No, not really. Flynn does not write enjoyable novels. But she does write the sad side of reality, that side none of us wants to address but is part of almost daily news now. There is no love or romance here, no happy ending where everything comes out fine. But it was a gripping tale that fascinated me from the start to the end and made me feel very lucky that my own children never were subject to this kind of terror.
Not for everyone.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
I really liked the tone and pace of this book. Initially I did not like the main character, a disturbed victim of a horrific crime. But as I kept listening, I liked her more and more, and was so drawn into her thoughts and actions. The mystery unfolds in surprising ways and entwines serendipitously, just like life all too often does. This book held my interest and I really liked it even though the story was about such a horrifying event.
Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane. Reviewer at BiblioSanctum.
This is the first book that I've read by Gillian Flynn. I have watched Gone Girl finally, but I still haven't read the book. I started Dark Places on a whim after two of my friends flailed over the book. I also remembered catching a quick glimpse of the end of the movie, and curiosity got the better of me with this story. (I've since watched the whole movie.) This started a bit slow, but it finally hit a stride with me a few hours in. This book is told from three different perspectives--Libby's, her mother Patty's, and her brother's Ben. The latter two tell the story from the past on the day of the murder. What a journey this story is. Aside from the mystery/thriller/crime aspect, there are so many things being touched on here from abuse to poverty. It's a dark, depressing story revolving around people who didn't have much going for them in 1985 and certainly don't have much going for them now. This also captured the sensationalism that follows cases like this fairly well.
I follow a popular-ish case in the media involving a man who was convicted of his ex-girlfriend's murder in 1999 when they were seniors in high school. He recently had a hearing to see if he'd be granted a new trial after 16 years in prison--a decision that the judge is still working on after five days of testimony in early February. Parts of this book made me reflect on just how true it feels to real life as far as people putting a sensational slant on such a tragic event. I have watched supporters of the man convicted of this murder express dismay toward the family because they still maintain the system worked. It hasn't been as nasty as the portrayal in this book, but this book certainly captured the culture of amateur sleuths while showing how painful/traumatizing this can be for families that live through these tragedies. People often forget about the victims or try to pooh-pooh their feelings with cases like these.
Narration wise, the narrators for this book did such a wonderful job with the story, and I liked that there were three different narrators (with one additional narrator for a single chapter told from a completely different character's POV, which I felt could've been skipped or written into either Libby's or Ben's parts) for each of the characters. However, I can't rate this higher than a 3.5 because some parts of this plot was just too unbelievable for me to let go. A perfect storm led up to the murders with one terrible thing piling up one after another, which I largely accepted, but then the big reveal at the end had me shaking my head like: "This book is doing way too much right now with this."
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