Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Book Review: "Dark Places" by Gillian Flynn

If you liked Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, then odds are you will also enjoy Dark Places. The story follows the mystery of the Day Family Murders in 1985, and the surviving daughter Libby Day's conviction that her older brother Ben was responsible for the satanic laced deaths of her mother and two sisters. The very structure of Dark Places is something I appreciate in terms of unfolding a mystery. Libby Day is the novel's present day first person point of view character. Libby is depressed, unmotivated, emotionally unstable, and a whole host of other unflattering characteristics including kleptomania, and yet her voice is impossible to resist. As the only first person character, the reader gets inside of Libby's mind and her unapologetic perspective of the world which is viewed through the tragic lens of the murder of her family when she was just a child. Perhaps having survived the murder of her mother and two sisters, her subsequent mutilation, and providing the damning testimony that helped pin the crime on her brother, is the reason Libby is so easy to forgive as a narrator.

As the story moves forward, the character perspectives move between Patty Day (Libby's mother) and Ben Day (Libby's brother) on the day of the murder back in 1985. Flynn really shines here as she masterfully designs a story that doesn't reveal it's central truth behind the mystery of who committed the murders until the reader has traveled with Patty and Ben through the day and their dark truths. The back story keeps the reader guessing at every turn as to who was responsible for the ghastly murders and who else may have been involved.