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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I've been reading more light, fun books, and you might think, this book is neither of those things, but it is to me. Yes, it's most definitely a dark and occasionally even slightly scary book, but it's a rollicking action book with a crazy-great set-up and it doesn't have any Big Themes or Great Literature to get in the way of figuring out the crazy.

When Libby was a small child, her mother and two older sisters were brutally murdered in their home. Libby managed to escape, and later testified against her older brother who was convicted of the murders. Now, more than 20 years later, she's floundering in a mess of a life and when she's contacted by a group of mass-murder fans who are interested in her story, she both curious and broke (they're willing to pay her to speak). They open up a window of doubt she never considered, and despite her efforts to nail it closed, she finds she needs to figure out the truth. What really happened in 1985? Why do some of her memories not mesh with the official on-the-record history of that night? If she finally understand what happened, can she start to get over it and get on with her life?

It's like a combination of Cold Case and The First 24 Hours, and other addictive TV shows about true crimes in the past, what lead up to them, and how they were eventually solved. The book jumps back and forth between present-day and the events directing preceding the murders. The characters are compelling and a bit wacko, the bleak Midwestern landscape is almost a character itself, and I found the book nearly impossible to put down. In fact, when my husband wanted me to put it down and go to sleep with just 20 pages left to go, I flat-out refused and we got in a fight. That's how un-put-downable it was. (We made up.) Libby isn't a particularly likable character or even sympathetic despite her harrowing past, but she's not a bad person and I don't mind unlikable characters (after all I'm not becoming friends with her.) But Ms. Flynn has put together another great mind-twisting book. I guess I'm reading her books in reverse as now I really want to read her first one.

I bought this book at Barnes and Noble.

1 comment:

Katherine P said...

This sounds good. I read Gone Girl and flew through it but couldn't quite get into her other one (Sharp Objects?) This one sounds like it might grab me more. I'll definitely have to pick this one up. Thanks for sharing!