Book Review : Dark Place by Gillian Flynn

January 13, 2014 Book review 10 ★★½

When I picked this one up I was expecting dark and twisty and while it delivered on the dark, it was a bit of a fail on the twisty side.

Book Review : Dark Place by Gillian FlynnDark Places by Gillian Flynn
Published by Orion Books Ltd on 5 May 2009
Genres: Adult Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 421
Format: Paperback
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two-half-stars

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

First Line of Dark Places:

“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.”.

My Thoughts on Dark Places:

When I read the first few pages of Dark Places, I felt excited as I loved the writing style and the stark imagery.  The more pages I turned though, the more out of love I fell with the book.  The main character Libby Day is understandably bitter and angry with the world after the murder of her family by her brother. However, she really grated on my nerves, she is whiny and so apathetical that I wanted to shake her.  She needs to lay down the victim card and create a life for herself.  Thankfully she did change a little bit during the book but only a teeny tiny little bit.

And guess what, Libby is my favourite character!  It is all downhill after that.  All the characters are repulsive, they are all so dark and so defeated by life.  I really needed a few decent, ordinary people in this book to balance it all out.  The only person I can think of is Libby’s aunt Diane who at least tried hard.  I also started off feeling sorry for Ben and their mother but the more I got to know them, the less I liked them.  When this book digs a few levels deeper and you see to heart of these characters, I wasn’t impressed by them.  I know a lot of it is the circumstances they find themselves in but they don’t need to be so horrible!

I don’t need to like characters to enjoy a book though.  I adored Gone Girl (5 stars) and hated every character there too.  But what Gone Girl had was a twisty plot that was as shocking as buckets of ice cold water being dumped over my head!  I was expecting the same here and didn’t get it.  I didn’t guess it all immediately but when revealed it didn’t shock me or thrill me.  I just felt, oh right, that makes sense and it all felt a little flat.

Also this book is longish (421 pages) and the pace was slow.  Never a great combination and I felt it dragged a bit in places.  I also thought that at times it was unnecessarily crude.  I got how horrible the characters were, I didn’t need images like dog shit all over the floor that never got cleaned up or this one to reinforce that.

“Trey made a loud loogie noise in the other room, and then a thweewp! spit sound.  Ben could picture the yellow phlegm dripping down the sliding glass door, the dogs licking at it.”.

Overall this book was a big, flat let down and I didn’t like it.  I did however like it enough to finish it.

 

Rating Report
Characters
three-stars
Setting
two-stars
Pace
two-stars
Did I feel it?
two-half-stars
Overall: two-stars

Who should read Dark Places?

I don’t really recommend it.  If you haven’t read Gone Girl, try that one instead, it is countless times better.

two-half-stars

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10 Responses to “Book Review : Dark Place by Gillian Flynn”

  1. Charleen

    Hmm, you’re the first person to make me think I might actually like Gone Girl. I didn’t care for Dark Places much at all and had kind of given up on the author because of it.
    Charleen recently posted…Review: SecondWorld

    • trish

      I know what you mean. If I had read this one first, then I would be put off GF books too. However I also think that because I loved Gone Girl this one was even more of a disappointment for me as my expectations were so high. I kept waiting and waiting for twists and there were none so I felt let down.

    • trish

      Yes I’d highly recommend Gone Girl BEFORE the film, it won’t work afterwards once you know the plot. It’s so full of twists, I love it.

    • trish

      The characters in Gone Girl are whiny too! BUT the twists made me shriek and the writing is fab. It’s very different but I’d recommend you give it a shot Dee.

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