Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars.

Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben’s innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her borther’s? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back?

She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day… especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find.

Who did massacre the Day family?

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Dark Places

Writing
This woman is seriously amazing. In case you don’t know, she’s the author of Gone Girl, which was probably my number one read of last year. So I was super excited to pick this up and get back into her amazing writing style! Every single sentence had me on the edge of my seat, desperate to know what was happening next. She writes with a brutal honesty that, no matter how strange the situation, makes you identify with everyone. Yes, there’s a lot of swearing. With some writers, that can be annoying, and there just for the sake of being there. With Flynn, it makes her books more real. I can’t explain it properly until you’ve read one of her books – just trust me, her writing will have you thrown brutally into whatever dark, twisted thing she’s trying to show you.

Plot
Just like Gone Girl, this was dark, gritty, and violent. I was in love. I’m not a big fan of mysteries, but this wasn’t at all your typical mystery. Libby, our main character, had such a personal connection to the deaths, since she almost witnessed her family’s deaths. Plus, there was already someone in jail for it – Libby’s brother, Ben. So Libby was a lot more involved in trying to solve this case than a regular person might be, or even the people from the Kill Club that she met. It wasn’t at all professionally done, and there were a lot of scenes full of emotion.

There were also a lot of flashbacks, which I think really helped. I couldn’t work out who was guilty, but I could work out who wasn’t guilty. I got furious at everyone who believed it was Ben (not a spoiler – we can assume that pretty early on). I got furious at all the maddening evidence pointing at Ben. I got mad at Ben for being so stupid, and not realising how terribly all his actions were going to blow up in his face. Basically, there was a lot of anger going on. BUT, good anger. The kind of anger that left me dying (bad choice of words?) to know who had done it!

Ultimately, I wasn’t happy with the ending. I was happy with half of the mystery being solved. The other half… I don’t know, I like the option to be able to work it out. This was basically impossible to solve. I almost got it, but very near the end, and I wasn’t entirely right anyway. With Gone Girl, I put down the book, and almost instantly wanted to pick it up again to find all the little clues that had been scattered through the book now that it all made sense. With Dark Places, I knew there was nothing there to find. If anyone guessed it, please let me know – I want to know how you did it!

Characters
Ben - Dark PlacesNone of the characters were lovable, but that wasn’t what this book was about. Libby, our protagonist, had ‘witnessed’ her family dying, like I said before. So, as you’d expect, this was one messed up adult. She acted like a kid a lot of the time, being spoiled, having tantrums, having the attitude that there would always be someone there to fix her mistakes. There wasn’t, of course, and I think she knew that, but it meant that so many things were left undone. She never had someone to teach her how to be a grown-up, and it really showed. This would usually make me hate a character, but it made so much sense with Libby. No, I didn’t like her, but I wouldn’t have her any other way.

Ben was a whole different kind of person to read about. You were never exactly sure where you stood with Ben, because everyone had some sort of strong opinion on him. He was a Devil worshiper, an innocent, a murderer… Even reading from his point of view, it was hard to work out how you should feel about him. Like I said, he didn’t exactly make himself look innocent. Just like Libby, though, the story wouldn’t have been right if he was any other way. The plot wouldn’t have worked if Ben was a nice character! Again, he wasn’t likeable, but I wouldn’t change a thing about him for the sake of the story

Have any of you read this book? What did you think? How did it compare to Gone Girl for you?

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