dreena, February 5, 2014 (view all comments by dreena)
A gripping, mystery where we follow Libby to the "dark places" of her past to unravel the truth of her family murders. If you liked Gone Girl, you won't be disappointed in Dark Places!
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onlyoreio, August 4, 2013 (view all comments by onlyoreio)
I have admired the way Flynn creates relatable and believable characters since I’ve read her novel, Gone Girl. And that had led me to read yet another of her morbidly twisted, psycho-ridden thriller Dark Places.
The title and the cover of the book, together, almost sum it all. Libby survived the day of the murder of her mother and two older sisters at the tender age of seven, in their home at a farm in Kinnakee, Kansas. She swore then that Ben, her freakshow of a brother, killed them as some sort of sacrificial ritual to the Devil. But now, at the age of 31, she wasn’t sure at all. And so goes the story of how she delved the depths of that nightmarish moment she have locked up decades ago in the place she called the Dark Place, to find the truth she was once too young to get a hold on to.
This is the story of how love, the right kind of love, when cultivated in bad soil, flourishes into evilness. Flynn has made an amazing job of creating unstable, psychotic characters that somehow, in sort of a normal kind of way, relates to us. That as the moment you tread into their minds (through Flynn’s magnificent storytelling), there is a sense of actually believing that grows upon you. And by the end of the day, you will be left with the thought that maybe, somehow, you have or have had that meanness inside you too.
The storytelling was magnificent (I could say this more that twice and still be astounded); the pace just a brilliant. Flynn does know how to build the suspense. You may find yourself holding your breath for pages. And she does know how to make an explosion of a climax where you get to feel cheated, in a good way of course, because amidst the multitude of angles and probability, you’re guesses of the ending, are in no way as good as the one she has conjured.
This is the kind of crime story that actually puzzles, with its number of plot directions that could lead in equally marvelous resolutions. But the one Flynn actually resolved this mystery tops it all, with it quirks and homage to her originality.
If you want a break off the usual, "there’s a crime so there’s a detective" kind of crime novels, this one will suit your needs best. Flynn has a way of being loved, through her characters, her ideas, her storytelling and her ability to construct a nightmare out of an equally horrifying nightmare, that haunts even with our eyes wide awake.
techeditor, March 12, 2013 (view all comments by techeditor)
DARK PLACES was written by Gillian Flynn before she wrote her 2012 smash success GONE GIRL. Although the two books are different, DARK PLACES is every bit as good as GONE GIRL, and I encourage you to read it. It's a five-star book.
This book begins with a declaration by one main character that will interest you right away. There's no wait of several pages or chapters here, no wondering whether you should give up after page 50.
From there, you will learn, little by little, of an event 30 years ago. You think you see what happened until you see it from another main character's perspective. And every chapter divulges more and more information.
I see in both GONE GIRL and DARK PLACES, plus in an even earlier Flynn book, SHARP OBJECTS, that she has a definite style. That is, all three of her books grab your attention on page 1 and tell the story from different points of view while going back and forth in time.
DARK PLACES should have been the success that GONE GIRL is. Who knows why it wasn't; it really is that good. But I predict that it will be recognized more now when readers of GONE GIRL become curious, as I did, to read Flynn's other books.
Please be glad I skimp on details. I don't tell you the story so you can discover it as you read the book. How can a thriller be thrilling or a mystery be mysterious otherwise?
Chris Carroll, January 31, 2013 (view all comments by Chris Carroll)
Gillian Flynn's second novel also features a tortured protagonist trying to solve a crime, but it's the flashbacks to the day of the crime that really drew me into the story. Excellent balancing act between the present and past.
Three Rivers Press -
by Tom L.,
Libby Day's mother and two sisters were savagely murdered when Libby was only seven years old. Her testimony in the ensuing trial helped send her brother to prison for the crimes. But is he really guilty? Flynn's accessible and compelling writing style make this a must for any carry-on or beach bag!
by Tom L.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Edgar-finalist Flynn's second crime thriller tops her impressive debut, Sharp Objects. When Libby Day's mother and two older sisters were slaughtered in the family's Kansas farmhouse, it was seven-year-old Libby's testimony that sent her 15-year-old brother, Ben, to prison for life. Desperate for cash 24 years later, Libby reluctantly agrees to meet members of the Kill Club, true crime enthusiasts who bicker over famous cases. She's shocked to learn most of them believe Ben is innocent and the real killer is still on the loose. Though initially interested only in making a quick buck hocking family memorabilia, Libby is soon drawn into the club's pseudo-investigation, and begins to question what exactly she saw — or didn't see — the night of the tragedy. Flynn fluidly moves between cynical present-day Libby and the hours leading up to the murders through the eyes of her family members. When the truth emerges, it's so twisted that even the most astute readers won't have predicted it." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day"
by Spencer Drew, Rain Taxi,
"[Dark Places] offers an authentic portrayal of the itchy angst and burning blunder of adolescence and, in its devotion to a world populated by mostly failed people who somehow managed to do one thing right — or one right thing — it remains committed to a complexly human, yet hopeful, vision. Readers will surely hope for more work from Flynn..." (read the entire Rain Taxi review)
by The New York Times,
"[A] nerve-fraying thriller."
by The New Yorker,
"Flynn's well-paced story deftly shows the fallibility of memory and the lies a child tells herself to get through a trauma."
"Flynn follows her deliciously creepy Sharp Objects with another dark tale....The story, alternating between the 1985 murders and the present, has a tense momentum that works beautifully. And when the truth emerges, it's so macabre not even twisted little Libby Day could see it coming."
by The Oregonian,
"Flynn returns to the front ranks of emerging thriller writers with her aptly titled new novel....Those who prefer their literary bones with a little bloody meat will be riveted."
by Kate Atkinson,
"Gillian Flynn's writing is compulsively good. I would rather read her than just about any other crime writer."
"[A] gripping thriller."
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