Remember Gone Girl? The book that everyone was reading a couple of years ago and it’s film adaptation that made us all realise Rosamund Pike is actually pretty awesome? Well, it turns out that was not Gillian Flynn’s first novel. A couple months a go I read her debut Sharp Objects and I loved it, not as much as Gone Girl but I still loved it. Yesterday I finished her second novel Dark Places and, oh wow, it is brilliant. If you liked Gone Girl you will without a doubt enjoy this book too.
Like the book that brought Flynn into the mainstream in 2013, Dark Places is full of unexpected twists and turns, intriguing characters and it is completely impossible to put down, trust me.
Dark Places tells us the tale of Libby Day, a woman in her early thirties who lost her mum and sisters to a brutal murder when she was only 7 years old. In the house at the time of the murders, Libby escapes and is convinced her teenage brother Ben was the man she heard slaughtering her family. After testifying against Ben in court, Libby’s brother is sent to prison.
We meet Libby several years later, she is an angry woman who is troubled by her tragic past. Never had a real job, Libby has been surviving off money from donations and trust funds. Now that money is running worryingly low, Libby finds herself in a bit of a predicament. Until, that is, she gets a phone call from a man called Lyle. Libby learns that Lyle is part of a group called The Kill Club. It is not as scary as it sounds, The Kill Club is a group of murder case fanatics. The members enjoy recreating real life murders, delving into the facts of unsolved crime and creating their own conspiracy theories. It turns out, the murder of the Day family is a very interesting case. Many people are convinced Ben is innocent and Libby is offered cash to go delving into her past, in order to find out what really happened the night her family was murdered.
Each chapter switches between the present day and the day Libby’s family were killed in 1985. We learn a lot about Ben, as well as Devil worship and farming life in Kansas. Just when you get absorbed in to the investigations of present day Libby, you are thrown back to 1985 and reading about the struggles of mother Patty Day and the life changing events that happened on her last day alive.
In true Flynn style, some of the language is very grotesque and gory. Although I felt uncomfortable reading on more than one occasion, especially in the chapter recounting the night of the murders, I still found myself completely engrossed in the story. As we learn more about what happened on that dreaded night, we are subjected to several, unpredictable twists in the plot. I won’t spoil the ending but I will say it is a very, very clever finish to an absolutely brilliant book.
If you are a fan of crime thrillers or if you loved Gone Girl, you really need to put Dark Places on your reading list. You won’t be disappointed.
Have you read Dark Places or any other Gillian Flynn novels? What did you think? I am pretty sure Gillian Flynn has now become my favourite author.