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Dark Places: A Novel | [Gillian Flynn]

Dark Places: A Novel

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 15-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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 15-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.

©2009 Gillian Flynn; (P)2009 Random House

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Janice Budd Canada 02-07-11
    Janice Budd Canada 02-07-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
    ratings
    REVIEWS
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    27
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    "A Mystery With a Twist"

    Many of the reviews about Dark Places that I have read on Goodreads questions the state of Gillian Flynn's mind. One reviewer stated about the ending, "Who would have seen that coming." I did... so what does that say about the state of my mind?

    I had no idea of what to expect at the beginning of the book other than wondering whether or not Ben was guilty. However, Gillian cleverly plants the clues throughout the story.

    I enjoyed this mystery and found myself eager to be in the vehicle so I could continue the suspense. I even sat in the parking lot, not wanting to go into the office, while I stole a few extra minutes to listen.

    The story is about Libby, a survivor of a horrific crime when her mother and two sisters were murdered. She was an impressionable seven year old and her testimony put her 15 year old brother in jail for life. Disfigured emotionally and physically by the events of that night, she existed for years refusing to go to those 'dark places' in her mind that held the memories of the murder of her family.

    About the time that her trust fund ran out, she received an invitation to be a special guest of the Kill Club, a club of people obsessed by real life crime. She discovered a way to profit from their obsession. She embarked on a journey to find out what really happened that night. Initially, she was just in it for the money, but quickly became immersed in her quest in ernest. She needed to know what happened that night.

    The narration was done by four people and all four did an excellent job creating the individual characters with their voices.

    A word of warning. There are some disturbing graphic descriptions in the book that may be traumatizing to some readers.
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    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    smithbackp 02-04-11
    smithbackp 02-04-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Couldn't stop listening"

    This was a great listen - it kept me on edge till the very end!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann COOPERSVILLE, MI, United States 05-16-10
    Ann COOPERSVILLE, MI, United States 05-16-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    2
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    "Dark"

    Great insight into a dysfunctional family with terrible secrets. Keeps your interest and great job by narrators.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bethann Denver, CO, USA 01-25-10
    Bethann Denver, CO, USA 01-25-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    114
    8
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    "Second half better than the second"

    I enjoyed this book, especially the end. There were a few times in the first half that I considered abandoning the book, but I am glad I didn't. It does move slow at first, but the tension definitely builds and the payoff is worth it. At least I thought so!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margarita Irving, TX, USA 12-29-09
    Margarita Irving, TX, USA 12-29-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    62
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    47
    15
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    "Good Listen"

    It is quite dark - and the narrators really did a good job of getting that across. A lot of twists. But, in the end, as dark as the book may seem, it does give a message of hope and forgiveness. It is a very good book indeed.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashley Torrance, CA, USA 12-02-09
    Ashley Torrance, CA, USA 12-02-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Fantastic!"

    Let me start this by saying I never write reviews, but I just had to for this one. I really enjoyed Gillian Flynn's first book, Sharp Objects. So when I decided I was in the mood for a good mystery, one that grabs you and doesn't let you go till the very end, I was fortunate in remembering that she had just come out with a new book. Let me tell you, this book did exactly what I was hoping for and more. The story centers on Libby Day, a broken woman who suffered an unthinkable tragedy when she was only seven years old: her mother and sisters were murdered by her teenage brother, and Libby's testimony helped put him in jail for the rest of his life. 24 years later, Libby is barely functioning and has pushed the memory of the tragedy into the back of her mind, her Dark Place. When Libby, through a series of events, realizes that she may have been wrong about her brother, she embarks on a journey to figure out the truth of what happened that night. The story has three different narrators, Libby in the present, on her journey, and her mother and brother in the past, each slowly revealing the events the day in question.
    All I can say is WOW! This book had me hooked. I ended up sitting on my couch at home listening because I had to finish it. Now that I have, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. The broken characters are so realistic, the written is so vivid, and the story is so tragic that it stays with you for a long time.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Domenic Kansas City, MO, USA 11-09-09
    Domenic Kansas City, MO, USA 11-09-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    10
    3
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    "Great book, great characters"

    Rebecca Lowman does an excellent job reading this book. The characters are well developed and you get a feel you really know the main characters.

    Locking forward to book 3. Hope Rebecca Lowman narrates.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Harvey Hungry Bay, Paget Bermuda 10-31-09
    S. Harvey Hungry Bay, Paget Bermuda 10-31-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not To Be Missed"

    Could not turn this off. One cold winter's night 7-year old Libby's mother and two sisters ae murdered. Her brother is convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Twemty years later Libby begins to look into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, unravelling a complex history woven by a mixed cast of dysfunctional characters. The narration is excellent. As the story is told first by Libby and then by the men and other women involved in the action, male and female narrators provide their voices. It is immensely effective.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob North Lauderdale, FL, United States 09-26-09
    Bob North Lauderdale, FL, United States 09-26-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    713
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    173
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    "Tooooo Dark"

    I love mystery and thriller novels but this was too much. I had a very hard time finishing it because of the content, not the writing or narration. It was very upsetting. I don't feel there was excessive use of the F word as some said.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Whitfield Sacramento, CA United States 08-24-09
    K. Whitfield Sacramento, CA United States 08-24-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    165
    3
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    "Couldn't Stop Listening"

    This story kept me completely hooked until the end. The characters felt very real, and the story is full of twists and turns. A great story and I definitely recommend it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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