Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places is a novel about three members of a poor rural family being murdered. On that cold winter night, only the youngest child- five year old Libby- escapes into the night.
The story begins twenty five years after the fact with Ben- the oldest child- serving life in prison for the murders. And Libby is a barely functioning adult… thirty years old and alone, bitter, confused, resentful, and untrusting of every and any other human being. She spends most of her time in bed or roaming the streets, living off charitable contributions and her mother’s life insurance.
Like a lightweight teenage who-done-it murder mystery, Libby- along with a group of “Ben supporters” called the Kill Club- decide to get to the bottom of the mystery once and for all. Dark Places is a dark psychological thriller that lacks the scare factor. It comes off like a borderline, trashy, made-for-TV movie. Through a series of drop-backs in time told by different family members that reveal the actual events, along with Libby’s investigative discoveries, the true story unfolds.
None of the women/girls in the story except Libby’s Aunt Diane are likable. They all make poor decisions and have fundamental moral flaws. In fact, the entire cast of characters leaves a lot to be desired. Gillian Flynn seems to focus only on the dark underbelly of humanity.
The plot is just too incredible with excessive coincidental circumstance. And too much of a miraculous transformation in Libby’s actions from the girl who couldn’t function from hour to hour to the strong, decisive, analytical crime solver.
While the ending took me by surprise, overall the grand finale was not worth the time spent reading the book. A good deal of the time I found the reading to be boring and thus, could not wait to finish and move on to something more substantial. Dark Places boasts on it’s paperback cover being named “one of ” the best novels of 2009 by the New Yorker Magazine. If this is really the best 2009 had to offer, it explains why I tend to say close to the classics!
Rated 2 Stars
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