AUTHOR: Gillian Flynn
PUBLISHER: Shaye Arheart Books
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2009
NUMBER OF PAGES: 349
RATING: 4 out 5
SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.
Let me start my review with that single word bomb that is the story. Dark Places explodes with so much mystery, thrill, vileness, and cruelty. This is Gillian Flynn so obviously it’s that nasty! Have you seen how she looks like? I looked her up online and my search returned a smiling angelic brunette. Seriously, how can this saint-like face have a mind so full of knack in making dark and twisted plots?! In Gone Girl, I have nothing but sheer veneration and in Dark Places, Gillian Flynn did it again!
Dark Places follows a story of Libby Day, the sole survivor of the Kinakee Massacre. Decades after the tragic event, she went out on a truth search to see who murdered her family. This story was told in alternates of the then and now events and from different character perspectives. Every tail of each chapter hinted several possible characters for indictment. Readers become instant detectives. I liked how there were lots of misleading details that you think you hit the jackpot, found the killer, when in fact you’re incriminating a totally innocent person. I actually had multiple theories on who the butcher was before the novel came to a close. Stories like these, such that make my usually idle mind work insanely, deserve to be brought to the fore.
BUT! To be honest, I was supposed to lavish this book with a five-star rating (which I don’t often unless the book is made of paradise stuff!). Something about the too elaborate details just make my hackles rise. I was out and about in search for the true killer when Gillian Flynn would choose to focus on the history of the Day car, the contents of the grade school locker, or even why the bed was unmade dedicating half a page for it (just like me allotting a paragraph about this!). I mean, ugh, the details just became obnoxious I just scanned through them never minding if I missed an important point. Well, it’s probably just me because other reviews were too blatant about their delight on this stuff which are for me, too lengthy and unnecessary.
Other than that, I like everything else especially how crafty Gillian Flynn was to her women. Libby, the lead, holds a very very unpleasant personality. She’s a liar, a kleptomaniac, a ruthless cat killer, a money-hoarding bitch, and all other nature opposite to a proper lady. Why is this a good thing? While most powerful female leads of contemporary fiction exude strength and great passion to save the world, Flynn shows us an otherwise plausible attribute. This is also how she did Annie from Gone Girl. If men can be contemptible, so can women. Bad “guys”? Scratch that. Girls are entitled to be wicked too.
This novel is not recommended for the juvenile group… and for those who are fragile-hearted. There’s vicious stabbing and axe-slaying, satan worshipping, premarital sex, and dope. All too much for a seven year old. But if you’re in for some adventure towards frequently untold but a very common form of reality, this book is for you. It’s savage but rich in messages.