Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places
Gillian Flynn
Publication date: May 5th 2009
by Broadway Books

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Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars.

Since then, she had been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben's innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother's? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back?

She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day... especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find.

Who did massacre the Day family?

If I have learned one thing from this author, it’s that she can write some psychotic characters. And that’s what I love the most about her books. You never know who you should trust, every person you meet feels like a bomb that’s about to explode in your face. Bring it ON!!

While Flynn is best known for her more recent release, Gone Girl, and while that book is a serious messed up ride that I won’t soon forget, I have to say that I think I enjoyed Dark Places just as much, if not a bit more than Gone Girl. This time we’ve got a family who was murdered a couple of decades ago, and the lone survivor – well, not counting the brother who’s in jail for murdering them all – is now questioning what really happened that night. As with Gone Girl, this novel is written in a way that makes you completely addicted to the story from the very start. You will want to skip lunch, dinner, and shoo your kids to bed early to get back to it. Her writing is like a drug. Then the way she goes about telling us the story makes it unputdownable. We’re treated to a past/present perspective where we go from learning who this family was before they were murdered – how they struggled and the rumors surrounding them – to digging up clues and trying solve this mind-f*ck of a mystery.

It’s with the help of the “past” perspectives that we get to meet Libby’s family and their…. intense personalities. I was mesmerized by how bizarre they all were, to be honest. I mean, we never get to see who they become, but those kids have issues and I wouldn’t have been surprised if her sisters had both grown up to be mass murderers. Then we have the townspeople and secondary characters who all weirded me out, especially the debt collector who immediately gave me the creeps. The story focuses a lot on Ben, the brother who supposedly killed his family, his past being filled with secrets and psychotic girlfriends and devil-worshiping friends. Yeah O_O It’s all very unsettling, though kinda fascinating to be honest.

The mystery is the biggest part of this novel, and it’s worked in with brilliance. With the alternating perspectives, you see how something seemingly innocent can blow up to be a game changer. How a tiny detail can easily be overlooked or deemed unimportant. I think I suspected every single person at one point, and my theories ran from the too-obvious to the too-wild. I was just about waiting for the whole book to explode in my hands. The reveal did surprise me, too, which has become so rare. To be fair I did guess certain aspects of it, but it was so very carefully crafted with tons of tiny bombs scattered all over that there is no way to figure it all out beforehand. Bravo, Flynn!

This is the story of a family fallen into hardship, a family struggling to pay their bills, struggling to survive, until they didn’t have to struggle no more. In short, this is the story of the most unluckiest family ever to live. If you were a fan of Gone Girl I have no doubt you’d enjoy this one too. If you’ve never read anything by this author, change this, stat!

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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14 Responses to “Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Ha! I love it when a book makes me suspect every single person present. I have yet to read anything by Flynn, but this sounds awesome. I like the sound of psychotic characters and now I want to know what the heck happened to the weird family.
    Lovely review, Giselle!

  2. Glass

    I just love books like this! When they play with your perception and emotions.
    I’ll have to read this book soon. Great review, Giselle!

  3. Rashika

    DON’T ORDER ME AROUND, MISSY. But then again.. I’ve been wanting to read this book. I think it’s the only book by the author I have on my list because there is just something about the blurb that calls to me.

    I don’t do psychological books as much because I am a little scared with the power they have to mess with my mind but… then again, aren’t those the best kinds of books? The ones that mess with your mind?

    Gah. I am so curious about how things will turn out with this one even though I am a little creeped out by the intensity of it.

    I am so glad you enjoyed this one, Gee! 🙂

    Fantastic review, hon! <3

  4. techeditor

    I read this, too. I won oit from readitforward.com.

    I agree with you that DARK PLACES is as good as or better than GONE GIRL. It’s a five-star book. 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 DARK PLACES as well as Flynn’s other two books that she has a definite style: 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.

  5. Ellen B

    So glad you loved this one! It’s my favorite Flynn, by far. Like you, I had no idea what was coming. It was so dark and creepy, but deliciously so!

  6. Johannah

    I’ve read Sharp Objects and I fell in LOVE with Flynn! I even wrote an email to her to let her know how awesome she is! I can’t wait to read Dark Places & Gone Girl!

  7. Olivia

    I must admit, I am one of those people who have never read anything by this author! My family members really didn’t like Gone Girl so I am still debating as to whether or not I should pick that up. But this one seems perfectly creepy and right up my street.