With the recent release of Gone Girl in theaters and Halloween just around the corner, now is the perfect time to read Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.
The novel features Libby Day, a bitter and psychologically damaged young woman whose family was seemingly randomly murdered when she was 7 years old, with the blame falling to her older, devil-worshiping brother. Now 24 years later, Libby happens upon a group who call themselves the Kill Club, who obsess over famous massacres and crimes. The group convinces Libby that her brother may not have been the murderer after all, which leads Libby to begin investigating the case and her memories of the event all over again.
The book is set in Kansas City in 2009, and while I took offense to the way Flynn described our wonderful home as, well, a dark place, I still enjoyed all the references to things like the Royals and Mission Hills. Flynn does an excellent job of painting a bleak image of our metro in order to set the tone for the horrible people and events that transpire in the novel.
Like Flynn’s other two books, Sharp Objects and Gone Girl, there is no redeeming character in this book. Do not expect to relate to or sympathize with anyone, because each character is despicable in their own unique and twisted way. If you can get beyond that though, the story itself is so gripping you’ll discover yourself craving more. With a week having passed now since I finished the book, I find that the characters continue to haunt me, popping into my mind and pulling me back into the depths of their disturbing story.
Those who enjoy Gillian Flynn novels might also like the literary murder mysteries of Tana French and Stieg Larsson. All three authors write fast-paced story lines that feature strong female characters with dark family secrets. They employ psychological twists to manipulate the emotions of the reader, deeming their tales unfit for the faint of heart. If you enjoy a mentally stimulating thrill though, you’ve found your match in these authors.