Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book #56: Dark Places

Book #56: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
5/5 stars

I took a short break from YA lit to check out the amazing Gillian Flynn's second novel, Dark Places, published in 2009. I liked it even better than her first, Sharp Objects, and I FINALLY got a hold of her most recent novel, Gone Girl, so expect a review of it soon!

Dark Places is a dark, occasionally graphic, novel about a woman named Libby Day. She is the sole survivor of a horrifying night in which her mother and two sisters were murdered...well the sole survivor except for her brother, Ben, who is now in jail for life after being convicted of the murders. Libby was just seven years old at the time of the tragedy, and her testimony is attributed to being key in Ben's conviction. Now, almost 25 years later, Libby's monetary fund from supporters and well-wishers for the Day baby is almost gone. She has never worked a day in her life, but now might be the time to start looking for a job. Libby is disgruntled and still never quite healed from the tragedy that struck her family.

Soon after Libby gets the news about her dwindling bank account, she receives a call from Lyle, a young guy who is calling on behalf of the Kill Club. If it sounds sketchy...that's because it is. The Kill Club is made up of people who are obsessed with famous murder cases, so much so that they have meetings where they talk about the murders and actually purchase "souvenirs" that come from people related to the case. Lyle invites Libby to come speak at a little convention that the group is having, and the only reason she goes is because she desperately needs the money.

Upon arriving at the convention, Libby meets many people who are convinced that her older brother, Ben is innocent. They have many theories about who the real killer is, including Libby's deadbeat dad, Runner, whom she hasn't seen or spoken to in years. There is even a group of women who have a Free Ben club and who often write to him in prison. They demand that Libby retract her damaging testimony from 25 years ago, which they claim Libby was coached to say in the first place. Libby is disgusted and confused, but when she finds that she can make some money out of this situation, she strikes a deal with Lyle. She will do some investigating of her own, and talk to some of the key figures and suspects surrounding the murders...for a fee. As Libby delves into her past and begins to uncover secrets she never knew about, she starts to doubt Ben's guilt, and wonder who else might have actually torn her family apart.

This novel was a crazy read and I loved it! It's very dark and touches on subjects that are controversial such as Satan worship and pedophilia, but it is not in a way that makes you feel sick or super uncomfortable; it's all part of the story and it's there for a reason. Dark Places had a ton of suspense and kept me guessing until the very end what exactly happened that night. There are flashbacks every other chapter to the hours leading up to the murders, and they are in different perspectives, including Patty's, the mother, and even Ben's perspective. Little clues are given in these flashbacks but it's up to the reader to put them all together before the surprise ending blows your mind. Loved this novel, and can't wait to read Gillian Flynn's latest, to see if it's even better.

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