Book Review: Dark Places


Synopsis from

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.

After reading Gone Girl, much like most people I wanted to see what else Gillian Flynn had to say. Apparently it was another crazy story. This one I didn’t like as much as Gone Girl but I still enjoyed it.

The story follows Libby, the sole survivor of the murder of her family. Well excluding her brother, Ben, who’s been locked up for life for the murders and her father, Runner, who was never really part of the family to begin with. Similar to Gone Girl, the deaths of Libby’s family is really a mystery.

Although at the start of the novel Libby wholeheartedly believed her brother was responsible for the murders, after meeting the Kill Club, a group of somewhat strange people who make it their mission to solve crime mysteries, and hearing other people’s thoughts on the murders and what happened that night, Libby starts to question herself and her memories. She knows she lied about seeing Ben actually commit the murders but could there be more she was wrong about?

It took me a second time getting this book from the library before I actually finished it. It starts pretty slow and despite all that Libby’s been through it’s hard to sympathize with her. She’s not a pitiful character that needs to be comforted. She’s an adult with hard edges who steals, lies, and does whatever it takes to survive.

The way the story is written is what really pulled me in. It alternates between Libby’s point of view in the present, Ben’s in the past, and their mother, Patty’s, also in the past. As Libby digs deep deeper and deeper in the mystery of the murders, the past is moving closer and closer to the actual morning of the murders.

It was interesting to read what leads up to the murders and how both Patty and Ben’s actions got misconstrued into something dark and terrible. I found the resolution of the mystery a little lackluster and was hoping for a bigger twist but it was still unexpected and still interesting. I definitely think the gotcha moment in Gone Girl was much bigger and more exciting.

Overall, Flynn once again dragged me into a murder mystery that once I was sucked in I couldn’t be pulled out of.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. It was good but it wasn’t rock my socks good. I wanted more from the ending. I’m not sure what exactly, but more.

Favorite Line: 

“The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty – we all have it.”


4 stars

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: Dark Places

    1. I’m thinking about. I have a long to read list right now though so even if I do it wouldn’t be soon. Have you read it?

  1. I found your blog on the HCBN, and I love your “borrow or buy” concept!! It’s such a creative take on the average book review. It also looks like we have the exact same taste in books. Following you!

    Meet Me in Midtown

    1. I’m glad you like it. I liked your blog as well. I’m also doing the journalism thing. I just followed you on Bloglovin’! Also I’m doing this new feature on my blog called “What I’m Reading This Week” where people say what book they’re reading this week. Let me know if that would be something you’re in to.

  2. Thank you for linking my review! This was definitely my least favorite Gillian Flynn book, I preferred Sharp Objects a lot more. But as always it was really gripping and fun to read.

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