Dark Places

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn revolves around the violent massacre at a Kansas farm house and the fallout from that horrific event as exhibited twenty years later in the lives of those involved. Libby Day is the sole survivor, and is a compelling picture of entitlement and brokenness, as if she has earned people’s pity and grief, but she’s far from weak. When Libby turns to exploiting her minor celebrity for money, she manages to get pulled into a strange subculture obsessed with her family’s killing, and is subsequently recruited to investigate certain things that cast doubt on the testimony she gave as a child which placed guilt on her own brother. With chapters alternating between the present day and the hours leading up to the massacre, Flynn’s pacing is perfection. Her prose shines a little less brightly here, but it still has a freshness and zip to it. Flynn provides some sly comments on our culture’s obsession with macabre cases such as the mass killing of a family, as well as some devastating insights into how something that awful infects everyone it touches. The narrative will keep you interested and off balance—never quite knowing who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, and what really happened in that farmhouse on that cold January night.

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