Dark Places: Book Review

Dark Places book cover

Book: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Publisher/Year: Crown Publishing Group/2009

Genre: Mystery

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ½ – Good

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Charlize Theron (The Italian Job, Snow White and the HunstmanA Million Ways to Die in the West)
Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-AssCarrieIf I Stay)
Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First ClassWarm BodiesJack the Giant Slayer)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)

When can I watch it?
Sometime later this year.

What’s it about?
Libby Day was seven-years-old when her family was massacred in their home late one January night. Her apparently Satanic brother, fifteen-year-old Ben Day was convicted of the murders after Libby testified against him. 25 years later, Libby is running low on cash. Cue: Lyle. Lyle is a member of the Kill Club, a group of amateur investigators and real crime aficionados. Lyle and his comrades are particularly interested in the Day Massacre. Much to Libby’s surprise, they all fervently believe that Ben is innocent of the murders.

The Kill Club is willing to pay Libby for memorabilia from her family as well as to help them seek out more information about the case. Since Libby needs the money and the thought of her brother being innocent peeks her interest, she agrees to help them. Now the face and voice of the investigation, Libby is forced to confront people from her past she thought she would never have to see again, each giving her another clue about her brother’s involvement (or potentially lack thereof) in her family’s murders.

What did you think?
It was not as as gripping and plot twisty as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, but it’s still a good mystery. It started off a little slow and took a while for me to get into it, but once it got going it got good. Expectedly, Libby has psychological issues since her family’s massacre. Her lack of motivation for the investigation (and for life in general) gets frustrating but it’s reasonable and believable. But as she delves deeper into the case, her thirst for information grows and she becomes more motivated and therefore more tolerable to me.

Something that’s equally interesting and frustrating about Dark Places is that it alters perspective between present day Libby, day of murder Ben and day of murder Patty (their mother). The pattern is Libby, Ben, Libby, Patty, Libby, etc. I always find it interesting to see other character’s perspective and motivations. While some of my favorite (and the most revealing) parts were in Ben and Patty chapters, it was annoying to have to wait 3 chapters to get back to a Ben/Patty cliffhanger. But that’s one of the ways Gillian Flynn ensures that readers won’t be able to put the book down.

One thing I like about Dark Places more than Gone Girl is the ending. As I said in my Gone Girl book review, the ending was abysmal. So I don’t spoil anything (as we all know spoiling a book is punishable by death), I’ll just say that the ending is much more satisfying and complete than Gone Girl.

Should I read it?
Yeah, it’s not the best mystery I’ve ever read but still a solid read.


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