I was completely drawn in by Gillian Flynn's writing style when I read her first book, Sharp Objects. Dark Places doesn't disappoint. This story line pulled me in from the first page. The way the author writes gritty, real, female characters is absolutely spell-binding. It's dark, it's disturbing, and it's impossible to put down!!!
After devouring Gone Girl, I couldn't wait to get my hands on more from Gillian Flynn. After only a few pages of Dark Places, it was obvious that I was going to love Flynn's earlier work just as much. Maybe even a little more.
Flynn is masterful at creating characters that aren't the least bit likeable, but completely engaging. For example, it's hard to feel sympathy for the "heroine," prickly shoplifter Libby Day, short-tempered, unmotivated, entitled -- and the lone survivor of her family's mass murder in the Satan-crazed '80s. But it's impossible not to want to peel back the layers of her story, to shine a light on Libby's titular "dark places." And chapters told in alternating voices, including Libby's murdered mother, Patty, and her big brother, Ben, imprisoned for his family's grisly murders, provide a great way to slowly unfurl the truth behind the night of the killings.
Once again, Flynn has captured a single day gone horribly wrong in the life of a truly twisted American family. And once again, I was genuinely blindsided when the author's carefully plotted reveal finally played out. What a great read.
Libby Day is the only survivor of a massacre that killed her mother and two sisters. The killings had a ritualistic feel, and her older brother, Ben, is arrested and convicted of the crimes. Libby, who was only 7 and at home during the murders, testifies against her brother. She is living off the proceeds of the kind hearted people who donated money after the killings.
Libby is a complicated character, with an edge to her character, and she is motivated by money to work with a "kill club", a group of people that find entertainment in researching past murders. The murders of her family members have their devotees and Libby works with them to get in contact with the people who knew her family, looking for the truth.
The book flashes from the days before the murders to present day, but was easy to follow. The characters were memorable, complicated, and compelling. When I finally got to the end and found out what really happened in the farmhouse that day, it was not at all what I expected.
I was compelled to read this book and wished that I could have read it all day.
Wow! I finished this book yesterday and still can't stop thinking about it. Flynn is a master storyteller, putting a fresh, unimaginable twist on a tale reminiscent of Capote's 'In Cold Blood'. Her characters feel so real and the plot so riveting, I'm a little sad it's over! Kind of like that feeling you get after watching the finale of your favorite tv series.
Flynn is by far a talented writer, each book better than the last. I can't wait to read what she writes next!!
The plot was interesting, but it was far too wordy. I did want to know who committed the murders as I read, but I skimmed and skipped many pages. I did like the ending & the explanation as to what happened. Definitely didn't guess that.
As with Gillian Flynn's debut novel, Sharp Objects, in Dark Places, the author also deals with the psychology of someone who is mentally unwell (among many other issues including a farmer's tough life and the way things were in the 80's for them). In this case, the protagonist, Libby, is mentally unwell because of the trauma she suffered as a child. Her family was murdered by not just anyone, her brother. She was the only one that managed to escape. Since then, she has become very bitter, uncaring, lonely, clinically depressed, has developed kleptomania, and seems to have a difficult time forming healthy relationships. She believes all of these will keep her from functioning enough to get a job. In my opinion she should have seeked therapy as it might have helped her function. Because she does not think she can get a job where she won't get fired and is running out of the money she's been living on (money sent to her by well-wishers who know about the murders of her family), she winds up selling family memorabilia to the Kill Club. The Kill Club is a horrible group of people obsessed with murders. They challenge Libby's idea that her brother was the murder that fateful night of January 3, 1985. Throughout the book the readers are told (in flashbacks) about the events of that night and events leading up to it. All is told through the point of view of Libby, Ben, and Patty, their mother. Readers, like Libby, will begin to question whether Libby at the young age of 7 was correct in stating her brother was the murderer. I know it seems as if just by knowing that readers will think "okay so then Ben probably wasn't the killer." Trust me, there's a lot you won't see coming and it's all worth the ride. The fact that it's so fast paced and makes you turn the pages like a madman/madwomen, adds to the enjoyment level.
I must state that this book had its merits, but it also had its downsides. I found myself unable to like the Kill Club, including Lyle. No matter what any of them say, they're just using Libby for their own entertainment and that is effed up. I will never find myself being okay with that. Libby played along because she wanted the money, which I think was horrible, yet I can see where her thought process was on that issue. Either way, she should have seeked therapy to help her. She did not need to resort to selling her family's items.
Concerning Libby's entire family; they are so flawed. All of them. I liked that. Don't get me wrong, it was unfortunate for them. For their flaws, I can understand why readers might find the family (even the younger sisters) unlikeable, but hey! People are like this in real life! I liked the honesty in this book. No matter how "messed" up everyone in this book was, you will find people like this in real life. Hopefully someone can come into their life and help them.
When I think about it, Libby and her family were not the only ones with mental issues. Pretty much every single character in this book had a problem.
In reference to memories, I had never thought about this issue before until I volunteered with an organization that helps children who have been abused. another organization had spoken to us about how back in the day, children who have gone through a trauma, were interviewed incorrectly. this led to false testimonies and many other consequences. one of the worst things that occurred was that the child would be forced to relive the trauma over and over because they would have to retell their story to numerous people like the local policemen, FBI, mother, father, aunt, etc. obviously this was not a good way to go about things. not only does it negatively affect the child, but what the child is saying may gradually change. it's not that the child is lying, but memories change the more you conjure them. It does not help when cops (they shouldn't do this anymore) used to ask children questions phrased in a way that would cause the child to believe something else occurred. for example, a cop may have asked a child "that man touched you didn't he? he hurt you? where did he hurt you?" the child might then start to believe that an event that did not occur, did in fact occur. the child will start to think that they were hurt by someone. If someone keeps repeating the same question to the child, "did you get touched by that man?" the child may end up giving the "right" answer, or the answer they believe the adults want to hear. they may then end up thinking the event really occurred. memories are a fragile thing. fascinating though. you're supposed to ask a child something like "what happened that day?" not "did he touch you?" I learned a lot of this from my psychology classes and research by Deborah Poole (among others). Look at something interesting a professor of psychology, Stephen Ceci, stated:
Our review of typical interviews from the 1980s shows many investigators blindly pursued a single hypothesis: Sexual abuse occurred. They would reinforce that hypothesis to the children, who would be led to believe in it.
It is essential to keep in mind now that most children with such implanted memories will have believed in their allegations of abuse for far longer than they were alive before those allegations first surfaced. Those 'implanted' memories are no less visceral than real-life memories.
Remember, this book took place in the 80's.
Libby's father, Runner, talking to her:
"How long it's been since I seen you, little girl? You get that flamingo ashtray I sent you?" The flamingo ashtray I got more than two decades ago, when I was a nonsmoking ten-year-old.
I feel that if Ben hadn't continued to be in an effed up relationship with Diondra, maybe he would have been better off. He may not have been as angry. All she did was tear him down. She and her step-brother Trey continually lowered his self-esteem. There is a reason that shouldn't happen to people. it can make them ANGRY! Anger leads to violence. Bad, bad things.
As for Michelle, I can completely see that girl growing up to be just like Ben. Demented, almost. By the end of the book, I wondered if there was a mental illness running in the family. Maybe not Patty, or their father (although alcoholism is technically a mental illness I don't mean that kind), but someone before them. Or maybe there was something in the water. *shrug* It's just interesting how Michelle, Ben, Trey, Deondra, and Crystal, were all off the wall. Okay, it was pretty much everyone in this book.
October 2010 - Movie rights to DARK PLACES sold!
Im thrilled to announce that the movie rights to DARK PLACES have been sold, with French director Gilles Paquet-Brenner to adapt and direct. Gilles most recent film is a beautiful (and harrowing and suspenseful and elegant) adaptation of Tatiana de Rosnays internationally bestselling novelSarahs Key, to be released in the United States in 2011. More news soon!
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn- If you liked S.O, you will like Dark Places. Psychological thriller + family issues = fun reading times. Well, not "fun" like jump up and down on a moonwalk but you know what I mean.
Criminal Minds (T.V show) - also deals with the workings of the inner mind
Dexter (T.V show) - ditto
I liked this book because it was well written and fast paced, but it's been awhile since I've read a book that I didn't really like any of the characters. I appreciate flawed characters, that's what makes those characters ones you can find some of yourself in, identify with, and USUALLY find at least one you like, root for, care about their welfare. Not so with this book. It is a book that will stay with me, but only because it's dark and depressing. I only gave this three stars because the writing was so well done.
I really liked the book. I was immediately caught up in the story from the first few pages but often found the content more disturbing than I would have liked. I am a fan of this genre but for some reason the characters and storyline in this book were a bit hard to take. That didn't stop me from reading it and enjoying it but I was glad when the book was done.
This book kept me guessing, which kept me reading. I will not spoil the outcome for others, but I was very disappointed in the "secret." I would have never guessed the ending, but I thought it came on all too quickly and the solution was rushed.
Libby is the sole survivor when her brother brutally murders her entire family one night. Years later, Libby digs into the past to figure out what really happened that horrible night. Did her brother really slaughter her family? Or is there more to what happened that night than what meets the eye.
I am a big fan of Gillian Flynn's work. Having said that, this book was probably my least favorite of hers that I have read. Although I still enjoyed it. I kept waiting for a big twist at the end and i didn't really feel like I got one. With Gone Girl I felt like the twist was shocking. With Sharp Objects I felt like I finished that book thinking the characters were really screwed up people. I liked the psychological aspect of it. When I finished Dark Places, I kind of put it down and thought ....huh really? I guess the idea that all these things happened that lead up to the events was interesting. The idea that if one thing had been different, the outcome might have been different. That was the part of this book that intrigued me, but also felt a little unbelievable.
I do recommend this book. If you are a fan of Gillian Flynn or like books about mysteries and crimes, then you should definitely pick up this book.
After reading Gone Girl (by Flynn) and liking it, but not loving it, I decided to take a stab at one of her earlier works. Flynn's writing style and storytelling is SO apparent, there would never be any mistaking that these were written by the same person. She has the same, slowly-unwinding storyline with lots of twists and turns, fairly unlikable characters (that's how life is! no one walks around like Meryl Streep all day), and a personal mystery centered around a highly-publicized tragedy.
Libby was thoroughly damaged, and who could possibly blame her? I felt sorry for Patty in the same way I feel badly for battered women- they do not have the willpower to stand up to those who knock them down in the first place, and this makes me pity them. Overall, the characters were well fleshed out, garnered a fair amount of pity and indulgence, and definitely made me excited to finish the book. Read it in one day- I was so curious to see what had really transpired that night!
The only thing I did not like about this book was how quickly she jumped into helping the Kill Club. After 24 years of suppression, I think dragging her out of her shell would at least take a few months, but who wants to read through that?
Anyway, a good thriller-mystery-family drama. Had a much more satisfying ending than Gone Girl, and slightly more sympathetic characters. The story was quite thrilling though, and who knows, maybe I will go back and read Sharp Objects now!
I've never read any of Gillian Flynn's books before and after this one, I don't feel compelled to to read any others. Although this story kept my interest, I didn't find myself giving it much thought after finishing. A good book for a quick way to pass time.
This is the second book I've read by Gillian Flynn (I read Gone Girl not too long ago). I am usually not drawn into the dark and twisted, but Flynn has a way of drawing you in and leaving you wanting more. I dont even want to think about where she gets ideas for her stories, but do appreciate reading them from the safety and comfort of my little nest! Flynn is a masterful writer and I will definitely continue to read her work.
I don't normally read a book more than once, but for some reason, I have now read 2 of Gillian Flynn's books twice. This is one of them.
It grabbed me from the first page and kept me wanting to keep reading. It's told from the perspective of a number of characters, so you get a feel for what they all are thinking, feeling, and dealing with. I couldn't put it down. I must add that it's a bit morbid. It's definitely dark and a bit evil, not to mention it is graphic at times, so if this is an issue, this book may not be for you.
Wow - I couldn't put this book down. Gillian Flynn writes so well! This is nightmarish for sure, none of the characters are likeable but all very human. This is a very dark, haunting, and riveting read. I couldn't stop till I got to the end, glad that the nightmare is over and yet ready to devour her other stuff.
I guess I am in the minority with this review. I didn't like any of the characters, the plot didn't work for me, and I found it boring. I found myself wanting to put it down, and skimming just so I could get to the end. I liked her two other books and was very disappointed in this book.
What an awesome thrilling story this was. I was confused and then it fell all together. Everything that took place was sad, terrible but a means to an end. Loved the book totally. Great characters and story....
my least favorite of the 3 books I have read by Flynn. I found the plot interesting and quick moving. I cant imagine how she invents these characters or scenarios, but they definately take you to "the other side" and make you think.
I read "Gone, Girl" first and really liked it. I like this book even better. Gillian Flynn's style of writing has me hooked. The reader doesn't have to wait until the end of the book for something major to happen. Crazy stuff occurs from beginning to end. After having read GG, I knew to expect a twist that would change what I thought I knew and thats exactly what I got!
Couldn't follow through with this, I don't like her style of writing and the back and forth and back and forth and I felt like it was just a person 'thinking' all the time, maybe it was better as it went on but after 100 pages I thought it boring.
I didn't enjoy this book at all! None of the characters were likable, and the story wasn't believable. The book is very graphic and explicit. I don't need to read about every single bodily function/fluid!! There are too many great books out there to read, skip this one!
One word. Red Herring! That was my impression of the ending Also the book was written in so many different voices and time periods that it was very had to follow. Just my experience not necessarily that of everyone else.
I really enjoyed Sharp Objects and so I was very happy to finally read this latest from Gillian Flynn. As with her previous book, this is no light read. It is dark (as name suggests) and complex. If you are looking for a fun summer by the pool kind of book, this is not for you. If you are looking for a suspenseful, psychological page turner, you are in the right place.
Loved this book! This was a great who-done-it...you absolutely KNOW Ben is the killer right from the get-go. Then a small doubt begins to slowly creep in. Then - wham! You learn the truth, but the author will keep you working for it, turning pages and staying up late to get the answer. It looks like I now have a new favorite author. Can't wait to read her next one! D.
This was an odd book - for me, it was a difficult read from the beginning. I struggled with it day after day. Which is odd for me because I can read just about anything and I read fast. I typically have several books laying around that I'm reading at the same time and never confuse them. However, I was so confused by this book that it was almost unreadable. THEN>> I decided to do something that I never do - read the last chapter first. I am so glad I did, because now I've read the entire book - backwards! And it is fantastic!! I know, that sounds crazy - I thought so too. But, don't judge until you've tried it! This book is great - but must be read from the last chapter to the first.
Libby Day isn't the most sympathetic character in the world. She's squandered the money donated by the public when her family was slaughtered, leaving her the only survivor except the brother jailed for the crimes. They have no relationship and Libby is not very motivated toward anything. She's a perfect Flynn character! While I liked the book and was interested in the plot cannot say this is the best Flynn I've ever read. In spots there was a great deal of psychological fiddle-faddle which bogged down the action and made the characters seem pottering or posturing, rather than interesting. There is also a lack of believability in many of the situations where Libby does decide to take action. All in all though, it was more gripping than most crime novels and the writing is generally clear and detailed. I found it worth my time.