Review From User :
"I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it."
I highly recommend reading this whilst sitting in the sun with plenty of happy people around you (as I did) - that way you can avoid contracting something evil and nasty from its pages, and also avoid losing any hope you had for humanity.
Okay, sorry, I make it sound so negative when actually this book is pretty fantastic if you can stomach the horrors within. I ate this up in a couple of days, finding every opportunity to read that I could... Flynn certainly has a talent for dragging you into her stories and having them take you over until you find out just what the hell is going on.
As much as I enjoyed its dark predecessor - Sharp Objects - I think Dark Places was, for me, a more complex and well-developed mystery.
I had many theories as to what was going on and all of them were wrong. You know, I honestly think that writing a mystery story must be the most difficult of all, because the reader is your enemy. Most readers of mystery stories will analyse the information they're given, pull it apart, and try desperately to solve the mystery before the characters do - and yet, if they are successful, they feel disappointed. For an author to manage to pull out something both surprising and convincingly real at the end of all this, they have to have a talent for it.
Dark Places alternates between the present day and 1985 when Ben Day allegedly massacred three members of his family, his sister - Libby - being the only one to escape and testify as a witness, sending Ben to a life in prison. Now, after years of living on the donations made by concerned members of the public, Libby Day has finally run out of money and is forced to earn some cash by making an appearance at a group meeting where the members believe Ben is innocent. At first, Libby is willing to write them off as crazy fanatics with a grisly obsession... but as more information is presented to her, she starts to question what really happened all those years ago.
The story is told from three main points of view and, to say I'm not a fan of multiple perspectives, I thought it was done excellently. Patty Day is an exhausted mother-of-four who starts to fear her son is becoming involved in satanic rituals; torn between wanting to protect him and being a little afraid of what his behaviour means, we begin to question through her eyes whether the heavy metal-loving loner could really have it in him to become a murderer.
Then we have Ben Day's point of view. Being inside his mind is a little frightening - we see how his thoughts become increasingly dark, how just wanting to have something normal can lead to the most abnormal behaviour... but does that mean he would really murder his family
And, of course, there is Libby Day. Libby Day is the reason I think I enjoy Flynn's novels so much. She is so imperfect, complex, selfish, violent... but somehow you manage to stay on her side. I have no idea how the author manages this, but I've always loved a protagonist with issues, the kind of issues that make them lash out in ways that would make you hate them if you weren't inside their head, understanding them. She does some horrible things and, though you don't necessarily forgive her for them, you are able to see why.
If you're okay reading about filth, gore, and underage sex, then you should dive into this mystery straight away and immerse yourself in the disturbing but awesome mental workings of Gillian Flynn.
Last updated: April 2016
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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?