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Dark Places
Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club, a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes, locates Libby an...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780307341570
ISBN-10: 0307341577
Publication Date: 5/4/2010
Pages: 349
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 400 ratings
Publisher: Crown
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Chocoholic avatar reviewed Dark Places on + 291 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This is a murder mystery story told from various characters' points of view and set in the Kansas City area in 1985. The characters in this novel are very realistic, and flawed in their own human ways. This book will keep you guessing until the very last page. Lock the door and call out sick to work, because this book will not let you go until you finish it!
tigger5677 avatar reviewed Dark Places on + 42 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
7-year-old Libby Day survives the night her mother and sisters are brutally murdered in their home in Kinnakee Kansas. Libby testifies that her 15 year-old brother committed the crime. Now at the age of 32 Libby has no job and no money when a group of armchair detectives approach her to try and garner information that may free her brother. Information she trades for cash. The novel is told in both present and past vignettes through the eyes of Libby, her brother and her mother, spinning a tail of dysfunction and desperation that at times will leave you feeling sick to your stomach. This novel is a truly twisted psychological thriller, with no really likable characters. I had no sympathy for any of the characters, and yet it was an incredible read. At times I had to stop and put the book aside because of the intensity and the utterly dark and depressing places that this book took me to in my own mind, so leave the lights on.
reviewed Dark Places on + 175 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and disturbing...

Who killed Libby Day's family? This is the mystery that is presented on the first page and the subsequent chapters detail Libby's attempt - half-hearted at first, to get the answers she so desperately needs in order for her to get on track in life. The book alternates points of view from Libby in present day to various characters from the past - describing the events that led up to, and include the infamous day of the murders twenty-five years previous - January 2, 1985.

The book is paced and the author writes excellent and well developed descriptions of the characters - Libby's mother, aunt Diane, sisters and brother - as well as of the setting of the Kinnakee, Kansas farm and Libby's house on the bluff in Kansas City, Missouri. (As a KCMO native, I was surprised to find a book set in this Midwest city because it is so rare and I really enjoyed that fact about the book.)

Because of the way the novel is written, the various points of view in each chapter are used to advance Libby's determination and investigation into actually and finally finding out who killed her family and why. The plot is revealed in layers and the reader isn't quite sure how all of this is going to come together - but it does. This is not a heart pounding thriller, but a more dark and plodding one - you know that denouement is just around the corner - you're hoping that Libby is going to get the information she wants as she confronts first one and then another of the surviving family and others involved with the search for the killer(s) of her family. Indeed, the hangers on - the Kill Club members - and her father, the loser Runner, only add to her consternation as she seems thwarted at every turn. Even her own brother, Ben, imprisoned by her testimony, seems to put roadblocks up instead of providing answers in the case.

This is not a book for the squeamish and describes some grisly scenes that include depictions of bloody murder and one of senseless animal torture. Libby, the protagonist, is not a loveable character, but one who grows on the reader as we are drawn into her world. We almost feel her lassitude and recognize how much energy her efforts cost her. We root for her, but are wondering if we really do want to know the answers. Is Ben guilty or not? No one associated with this crime is free of criminal association or above suspicion.

All in all - a good whodunit with a very appropriate ending.
brandyjp avatar reviewed Dark Places on + 58 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I was completely drawn in by Gillian Flynn's writing style when I read her first book, Sharp Objects. Dark Places doesn't disappoint. This story line pulled me in from the first page. The way the author writes gritty, real, female characters is absolutely spell-binding. It's dark, it's disturbing, and it's impossible to put down!!!
nantuckerin avatar reviewed Dark Places on + 158 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
After devouring Gone Girl, I couldn't wait to get my hands on more from Gillian Flynn. After only a few pages of Dark Places, it was obvious that I was going to love Flynn's earlier work just as much. Maybe even a little more.

Flynn is masterful at creating characters that aren't the least bit likeable, but completely engaging. For example, it's hard to feel sympathy for the "heroine," prickly shoplifter Libby Day, short-tempered, unmotivated, entitled -- and the lone survivor of her family's mass murder in the Satan-crazed '80s. But it's impossible not to want to peel back the layers of her story, to shine a light on Libby's titular "dark places." And chapters told in alternating voices, including Libby's murdered mother, Patty, and her big brother, Ben, imprisoned for his family's grisly murders, provide a great way to slowly unfurl the truth behind the night of the killings.

Once again, Flynn has captured a single day gone horribly wrong in the life of a truly twisted American family. And once again, I was genuinely blindsided when the author's carefully plotted reveal finally played out. What a great read.
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marcijo28 avatar reviewed Dark Places on + 247 more book reviews
Good read!
dichten avatar reviewed Dark Places on + 4 more book reviews
A compelling story which will grab hold of you with that now infamous first sentence.

Gillian Flynn shows her powerful craft in her second novel, told through the narrative of Libby Day (the survivor of a massacre which stole her of her family). The book also flashes back to tell the tale from the point of view of Patty Day (Libby's late mother) and Ben Day (Libby's brother, convicted - erroneously? - of the murders). As the novel progresses, the reader is transported into the minds of these three characters who present us with the day leading up to the grisly crime.

A wonderful, wonderful read. Gritty, stark, with the teeth and stunning force of a piranha.
perryfran avatar reviewed Dark Places on + 1140 more book reviews
I read and enjoyed Flynn's novels GONE GIRL and SHARP OBJECTS a couple of years ago. DARK PLACES has been sitting on my shelves for awhile but finally got around to reading it. The title is very appropriate for this bookâindeed it does take the reader to very dark places! The antagonist, Libby Day, was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in the dead of night. Her mother was killed by stabbing and then a shotgun blast to the head; one sister was killed with an axe; and the other was strangled to death. The old farm home was covered in blood and Satanic symbols leading investigators to believe that Libby's brother Ben was the killer given he was involved in Satanism. But then 25 years later, Libby is approached by a member of the "Kill Club", a group obsessed with brutal crimes. They believe Ben to be innocent and want Libby to contact people who may have been involved to see what she can find out. Libby is short on funds so the money she will receive from the club invokes her to reconnect with the players from that fateful night. She contacts Ben in prison who is pretty uncooperative but then tries to find her father, Runner Day, a drunk who was always looking for easy money. So is she able to find the truth of what happened that night?

This was a really intense thriller that kept me glued to the pages. The novel does delve into some really dark things including devil worship and blood sacrifice. There were lots of twists to the story and I was really surprised with the ending and what really happened to the Day family. I did think that there were a lot of coincidences in the story which were somewhat far-fetched but overall I would recommend this taught thriller. I found out that there is also a 2015 movie version of this starring Charlize Theron that I will be on the lookout for.


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