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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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  •  
    Elle in the Great NorthWest Beaverton, OR, United States 06-12-12
    Elle in the Great NorthWest Beaverton, OR, United States 06-12-12

    I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A family murdered in Kansas"

    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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brett Charlotte, NC, United States 04-01-15
    Brett Charlotte, NC, United States 04-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Not Exactly a Thriller and not Exactly a Mystery"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    I'm_A_Collector 03-12-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Worth a listen - I was pleased"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Chicago, IL, United States 02-03-15
    Lauren Chicago, IL, United States 02-03-15 Member Since 2011

    I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.

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    "LIBBY DAY"

    I LOVE GILLIAN FLYNN. Please stop making movies and write more books. Dark Places will keep you guessing until the very end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Williamson Miami, FL 11-02-14
    K. Williamson Miami, FL 11-02-14 Member Since 2009
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    "A Transfixing Story Line leading to Final Peace"
    What did you love best about Dark Places?

    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.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    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!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Oddly Yes. It kept the pace up very well.


    Any additional comments?

    It is a Dark Book, Graphic at Points, visceral in others, sweet and charming in most places.

    I highly recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Farrell California, USA 07-11-14
    C. Farrell California, USA 07-11-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Dark Places of the Mind"
    Would you listen to Dark Places again? Why?

    Dark Places is definitely worth a second listen. Gillian Flynn has such amazing insight into psychological complexes, trauma and motivations. It's as much of a pleasure to get to know her characters as it is to follow along the twisting paths of the plot. (I always find myself casting the inevitable movie as I listen.) I also loved her descriptions of Kansas, my home state.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    As with "Gone Girl," Gillian Flynn unfolds the story masterfully. Bit by bit, events are slowly revealed, as you view the same circumstances through different characters' eyes. Flynn shows how wrong we can be in our perceptions of others, as when listening to the story, I realized I was wrong in my judgement of the characters.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I found the narration of the three main characters, particularly Libby and Ben, to be almost painfully slow at times. I suspect the reason was to contrast the delivery (slow, flat) with the sometimes gruesome, sad or horrifying events -- to convey the characters' somnambulistic response to the grim circumstances of their lives in a way that would point up the horror in an understated way, rather than making it "pulp fiction," lurid and cheap. I'm reminded of the flat narration of Sissy Spacek in "Badlands" (or the bleak cinematography of "Fargo"). The banality of evil and all that. Nevertheless, the narration was just too flat and slow in places, and distracted me from the story somewhat. I did enjoy the voices and accents, although Kansans don't really have a Southern accent. And, having grown up in Kansas, I winced every time "Salina" was pronounced "Sal-EE-na" rather than "Sal-EYE-na." It's a common mistake for those who've never been to the state, but could have been prevented with a bit of research.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This is my second Gillian Flynn novel, and I could have listened to it all in one sitting. I had to stop everything to listen to the last hour and a half.


    Any additional comments?

    While not quite as good as "Gone Girl," "Dark Places" is excellent, and sealed my decision to buy "Sharp Objects." I can't wait for the next Gillian Flynn novel!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    To Much Shopping HOLMES, NEW YORK USA 10-16-13
    To Much Shopping HOLMES, NEW YORK USA 10-16-13 Member Since 2013

    :)

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    "not as good as other 2 but still worth the listen"
    If you could sum up Dark Places in three words, what would they be?

    evil, strange, interesting


    What did you like best about this story?

    The twists in the characters as they switched from Past to Current.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Patty Deay


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    no laughing or crying... more like wow can people really be this screwed up?


    Any additional comments?

    Not as good as the other two books she's done.... but still very good. Would have liked a little more to the ending...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lmp1027 10-12-13
    Lmp1027 10-12-13
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    "Not as good as "Gone Girl" but enjoyable listen."
    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Kept me listening because I wanted to find out who the killer was.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Nothing special in narration


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Enjoyable listen, but not as good as "Gone Girl". Nonetheless, it was still an enjoyable book that kept me wanting more and to uncover the mystery.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betty LYNNWOOD, WA, United States 09-26-13
    Betty LYNNWOOD, WA, United States 09-26-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Gillian Flynn is a mastermind!!"
    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    i could not stop listening to this! I was enthralled within minutes of listening.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The book gave me chills. The way Flynn writes her characters are so real. And i like how the ending isnt all happily ever after.


    Any additional comments?

    HUGE!! fan of this author. will continue to read/listen to anything that she writes

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 09-19-13
    Jennifer 09-19-13
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    "Hooked from the start!"
    What made the experience of listening to Dark Places the most enjoyable?

    The narrators are fantastic.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's a good story. Disturbing, but good. You want to know what happened that night, and it's very satisfying once all is revealed.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene where Libby goes to see Trey in the present was the best, it felt very intense to me.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes! I had to stop with one hour left so I could go to bed, and I finished it as soon as possible the next day.


    Any additional comments?

    This writer is my new favorite. This book has a lot of layers to it. It's complicated, a whodunit with family issues, not too lovable characters, and disturbing imagery. Glad I took the risk and tried it after reading "Gone Girl". Next is "Sharp Objects". Highly recommend! Definitely worth a credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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