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)
Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane.
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."
This story is creepy, suspenseful and sad. I loved it! It was a good change from my usual mystery stories that I like.
Had me listening intently the entire time. Well written and the narrators were on point! Wish all audiobooks were this well produced.
Must warn that there were a couple of scenes I fast forwarded because I just didn't want to hear it. Too much devil worshiping for me. So be warned. If you absolutely don't want any part of that stay away from this book.
With that said, it was an extremely intense thriller that I couldn't put down.
The story follows mostly Libby and her quest for the truth of her family's murder. A lot of this story was told in flashback, and I loved how the tension slowly ratcheted up as the characters hurdled towards their fate. This isn't an action thriller or a mystery as such. I felt like it was more of a personal transformation story with elements of thriller and mystery woven into it. I liked it. True, the story is gory and gruesome at times, but I doubt you'll put this book down. The author is very skilled at pulling the reader in and taking them to dark places.
Since listening to Gone Girl, I have been searching for all things Gillian Flynn. This was a very good listen, kept me guessing the entire time and was hard to stop, once I started.
I would and have listen to Dark Places twice. I had too. The book and the story are so layered and full of little pieces of information that it is hard to grasp it all in the initial read. I (and it just may be me) was so overwhelmed by the huge events happening in the story that I missed a lot of the finer pieces of information but on the second listen more feelings and information could be focused on and it made for a more complete and engaging story.
I had two favorite characters one being Patty the mother who tried so desperately to make the best life that she could for her family, the author made this character so identifiable because this mother knows that because of her choices her children are in the lifestyle that they are living in bit the author allows this character to not only have this clarity but also express her feelings and guilt in a way that I believe is honest and heartbreaking.
The second is of course Libby because of the transformation of her character in throughout the story. The reader goes on the journey of this story and the story of the events with Libby and is able to observe with her the fallout of the main tragic event not only on her family but on others who were involved with her family and the results on their lives from that one day.
The narrators are awesome. I struggles with the Ben parts of the book but I am unsure if that had more to do with the subject matter of his pieces. The only other complaint that i have is the pronunciation of the town Salina. I am from Kansas and so I know it sounds like Sa- line- a not Sa-leen-a. but other than that, they did a wonderful job.
This, for me was not a book I could listen to in one setting. As I mentioned before I had to listen to it twice. I did listen to it at every opportunity I had though because I was deeply engaged with the story and the characters.
This is a book that is defiantly worth a credit but be warned it is truly dark and there are descriptions of some horrific events in this book. This book has a large amount of profanity in it and some sexual content so not something I would want to listen to on a road trip with my kids or my mother. It is filled with identifiable details from the satanic scare that was a part of the 80's music scene (40 something years olds remember watching 20/20 special about "devil" music and the PMRC) and the grape smelling hair spray (Assie MEGA freeze spray, I know I am not the only one with bangs that made me a foot taller) and scruch socks.
This is a really great book.
I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.
I LOVE GILLIAN FLYNN. Please stop making movies and write more books. Dark Places will keep you guessing until the very end.
How the author wove in and out of the history of the characters, all building up to the final twist and climax of the story. A Masterful 'Who was the Killer', all bound in the agony and lost life of the one suriving child.
This was one of the few books with male / female readers. It worked wonderfully to give added light to the story line. I always wonder why they don't do this more.
The readers pulled this off wonderfully!
Oddly Yes. It kept the pace up very well.
It is a Dark Book, Graphic at Points, visceral in others, sweet and charming in most places.
I highly recommend this book.
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