Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

After having a positive experience with Gone Girl (also by Gillian Flynn) and seeing this book all around the store I knew I had to give her another shot. The story focuses around Libby Day, a woman’s whose mother and two sisters were murdered twenty-five years prior. Her older brother Ben was convicted by the murder’s in part because of Libby’s testimony. When Libby becomes desperate from money she accepts a requests from members of a group called the Kill Club, fanatics of famous murder trials which were never truely solved. After ignoring the events of that night for years, Libby is sucked back into the circles of a judgemental farmer’s town, deadbeat father, and series of coincidental events.

Although the ending is slightly anti-climatic there are a few things about Flynn’s writing that makes me to continue to recommend it to others. Flynn’s attention to detail and description makes the reader feel as if they are living in the impoverished, rural, midwest without bogging down the reader. Oftentimes I felt physcially cheap with the way she described locations, and character’s actions. Flynn transported me unknowingly into this ‘white trash’ world and more often then not I was cringing at the mentions of ‘pink bubblegum lipgloss’ or ‘microwavable nachos’. Another great advantage of this novel is the constant shifts of perspective and timing. Each chapter is written in different character’s voices and flips back from present time to the day of the murder. This makes reading go by faster because of the quick changes in pace and allows the readers to see how so many factors led up to the dreadful day of the murders.

Another aspect of the book which I am still unsure of is the protagonist herself, Libby. Libby was the most frustrating character I have read in quite awhile. For a lot of the novel I just could not get myself to like her. She had her shining moments but for the most part she continued to be lazy, self-centered, and just helpless. This novel is very realistic in the sense that there isn’t simply a hero and a villian. The characters are complex and must make tough life choices while the reader watches the impacts of those choices.

Rating: 3.4/5

Themes: Poverty, justice system, satanic worship, role of children


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