“Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn

Dark PlacesDark Places by Gillian Flynn
Mystery, Suspense, Crime

From the Publisher:

          Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in ‘The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.’ As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.
          The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.
          As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

As you’d expect of someone who’d gone through such a nightmarish ordeal, Libby is gloriously screwed up. She has no friends, no money, no job, no prospects. She’s thirty something now, and it still trying to live off sympathy. She’d do anything to not have to actually work with people for a living. Not only so, but she still has not really come to terms with what has happened to her. By not “dwelling” on her “dark places” she thinks she has moved on. But really, she is denial and refuses to acknowledge the truth–not only about what happened to her and her family, but also about her present circumstances. Through her journey with the Kill Club, she will unravel layers of her past that she has refused to see.

This was a superb mystery novel. All the necessary elements were there, and executed very well. Just as with Gone Girl, the plot twists were well done and unexpected. I enjoyed this novel and would have given it five stars if it weren’t for the substantial vulgarity (which I also found quite present in Gone Girl). It was very distracting, unnecessary, and unimaginative. It added absolutely nothing to the plot or the characters. If that is something that you can’t ignore, Gillian Flynn is not the author for you. But if it is something you can ignore or enjoy or are indifferent to, then you might want to give this book a go!