What a bleak world Gillian Flynn lives in, where being narcissistic or a liar isn’t doing too bad. Also I never want to visit the Midwest (ok, ok, I didn’t before).
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn has a very similar tone and atmosphere to her runaway hit Gone Girl. Not gonna lie, I loved Gone Girl (and the movie!) and was very excited to finally read Dark Places.
The book centers around Libby Day, who was the lone survivor of the Day Massacre, where her mother and two older sisters were brutally murdered. Libby’s older brother Ben was found guilty and left Libby devastated. After twenty four years, Libby now has the opportunity to find out what really happened that night.
Like Gone Girl, it was the characters that really sold me. I know some have a problem with unlikable characters, but I don’t so long as they are compelling, complex, and/or have some redeemable quality.
With Libby I was both repulsed by and yet strangely drawn to her. Sadly I felt like this push and pull was lost by the third act, but I still found her interesting enough to continue to care.
Because that’s what important when making a solid Whodunit. When the story is solely focused on the mystery, I give up caring once the mystery is solved. I started to piece the puzzle together about halfway through, but I still wanted to be there when Libby figured out what happened herself.
Along with Libby (in the present) the narrative switched back and forth between Patty and Ben Day, Libby’s mother and brother, in the hours leading up to the murders.
I’m so happy that the reader gets that perspective, because I think some parts of the mystery would have fallen flat if we didn’t understand the progression of events through their eyes.
As the story progresses, the structure starts to meld into a standard whodunit. Thankfully, the subject matter is strong and kept the novel from morphing into an Agatha Christie mystery (I love Christie, but it’s not the right fit here). Sadly, however, it does lose some of its edge.
My other major complaint were the coincidences. Sometimes they were annoying, but I was able to look past them. Especially one big reveal… it was a bit far-fetched. Haha, I still ate it up though.
Its interesting reading Dark Places after Gone Girl because I can see the author’s progression and how she prefects the mystery in Gone Girl.
I thought Dark Places was a great read as long as you don’t mind wandering through the bleak mind of Flynn.
Also I’m terrified to read Sharp Objects. Am I the only one?
**Forgot to mention Lyle! Loved that bastard and wanted more of him.**