Monday, September 26, 2011

Dark Places.

Title/Author: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

Genre: Dark Fiction/Crime Fiction/Thriller.

Publisher: Three Rivers Press.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Libby Day.

Favorite quote:

All in all: Powerful, dark and engrossing.

Synopsis: 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.~Amazon.com

My Thoughts: Oh my God. OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod. Wait, I already said that when I finished Flynn’s first novel Sharp Objects.

Well, I’m saying it again. Flynn has written another mesmerizing novel. Maybe “written” is too tame. She has created a world, brought characters to life and crafted a story with an intricate scenario.

The narrative switches from main character Libby Day’s voice in the present to third person pov from Patti (the mother of the Day family) and Ben (who was convicted) leading up to the murder of the Day family twenty four years ago. The events finally crash into each other exposing truth, secrets and lies in a stunning revelation. The plot is filled with details that circle around to serve the story and keep it moving forward. While reading Dark Places, I didn’t realize at the time that a certain plot point or detail was a clue that would fit in later. At the end, it felt like I had traversed a maze and picked up pieces of a puzzle along the way.

Libby Day is an honest, damaged character (physically and mentally) who never received the best tools for coping with the tragedy she endured. She is not someone you might trust or be particularly drawn to in real life, as self pity and guilt aren’t the most positive qualities and make an unflattering combination. However, her character flaws stem from her vulnerability and she quickly endeared me to her with her honesty and tenaciousness. She hatches a plan in order to make income that quickly becomes a search for the truth. I really have to say all the characters are believable and jump off the page. They are your neighbors, the woman in the grocery store, people you see on the news. Even the most outrageous characters are so real and I think part of it is because their inappropriate and even crazy behavior is seen through others. There is no attempt to get into their head, there is just observations. Everyone is simply fascinating.

The writing is strong, significant, powerful, dark and engrossing. Flynn fits the scenes to the story’s mood and makes the world a dreary, depressing landscape yet at the same time the words themselves and how they fit together are lovely and rhythmical. The words flow making an easy read out of a dark, disturbing story.

Dark Places took hold of me and held me until I finished it. I don’t think it’s a story I will ever forget. I urge you to read this. It is something very special.



7 comments:

Missie said...

crime fiction and thrillers aren't usually my thing, but I love the way you've describe the effect this author's writing had on you. I wouldn't ever expect to find dark and disturbing easy to read. Good to know there is a book out there that would prove me wrong. LOL

Danielle said...

This sounds great, I love a big surprise twist/reveal, just added this to my list.

Kate said...

I so want to read this... I don't know why I haven't yet. Maybe I can pick it up in October!

Jenny said...

Wow, that's a pretty promising first line to a review! I haven't heard of this book before but clearly I'm missing out! Damaged characters always hold huge appeal for me, so I'm thinking Libby is going to have me in her corner pretty quickly:)

Anonymous said...

I listened to this on audio and enjoyed it. It is quite dark but also a very good listen. Glad you enjoyed it.

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