Dark Places

dark-places-book-cover By Gillian Flynn

Libby Day is not a likeable character; she is prickly, aggressive, hostile. The sole witness to the murder of her family when she was seven-years-old, she has carved out an uncertain, clouded life.

Her mother and two sisters were killed by her 15-year-old brother Ben and Libby never questioned her childhood testimony until she was approached by the Kill Club, a group dedicated to examining high-profile crimes.

The story is recounted through present day and the day of the murder 25 years earlier, alternating back and forth as Libby tries to reconstruct what really happened. Why was her brother so uncooperative with the police, what part did her mostly-absent father play if any?

At times the prose seems a bit stilted. The writing is going along smoothly and then it as if it occurs to the author to write a reflective phrase. It is not seamless and seems contrived – Gillian Flynn doesn’t need to add anything to her solid writing.

While Libby may not be likable there is something about her that makes you want to know more. Her compulsive stealing of small items such as pencils from a desk or ornament in someone’s living room shows a vulnerability that you know is not far under her difficult surface.

The book takes you along a very dark journey of discovery. It is a fine and compelling read.

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