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Overview "I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ."
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in â€œThe Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.â€? 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.
Reviews Normally I wouldn't give a genre book like this a 5-star review, because I'm picky and controlling about handing out major praise. How could a crime/mystery be as good as, say, Thomas Hardy or Alice Munro? Apples and oranges.
But I just finished this about five minutes ago, and it made me gasp. It's so good a well-paced page-turner, beautifully wrought. I literally couldn't put it down for longer than a couple hours at a time once I picked it up (with the exception of sleep).
According to her Acknowledgements, Flynn did significant research to write this, and it shows - it's assured, detailed, and often heart-wrenching. There are no loose ends, and when they tie up, they tie up so naturally, unfolding at such a realistic pace, that you feel like this could really have happened. Nothing -- except maybe for the Kill Club, the ball that gets the narrator Libby's investigation rolling -- is far fetched.
For what this is -- a genre novel echoing In Cold Blood, crossed with southern gothic -- it's superior. But even outside the mystery/crime genre, this book is a better, more skillful, funnier, more emotional and more fascinating read than most of the literary fiction I've read lately.
Libby Day is a fantastic heroine/anti-heroine; real, three dimensional, funny, dark, bent and broken, but not beyond repair. I so enjoyed taking this ride with her and am sorry the book had to end. This is very high praise coming from me, because I read constantly and I hardly ever have this feeling about anything. I can't wait to read "Sharp Objects", though I'm dreading it at the same time, because I really can't afford to let another book usurp all my time for three straight days. This was my first book by Gillian Flynn and it will not be my last. Gillian Flynn is a masterful writer who can take an idea and twist and turn it into a dark intense story that you cannot put down-not even if you wanted to. Dark Places had me hooked at the beginning and breathless at the end.
Dark Places tells the story from the perspective of three individuals-Patty Day and two of her children, Ben and Libby. The Day family was massacred at their Kansas farm, the only survivors were Libby and Ben. Ben, accused of the crime by Libby who was 7 at the time, has spent the last 24 years in prison. Libby has spent her tormented life living off of a Victim's Fund which was started for her as a child. That money however has run out and now she has found a new way to live-The Kill Club, a group of individuals who spend their time investigating crimes. The Kill Club will pay Libby to dig into her past and re-live the tragedy of her childhood. Once she begins the journey, there is no turning back, and what she finds out may change her life forever.
I LOVED this book. The characters were strongly developed. I felt something for each of them, whether it was sympathy, hate, or fear-the rollercoaster of emotions didn't stop until the story was over. Flynn's telling of the story is geniously done. She has created a story that you have to finish. You won't feel complete unless you do. 5 stars plus!
Let me start this by saying I never write reviews, but I just had to for this one. I really enjoyed Gillian Flynn's first book, Sharp Objects. So when I decided I was in the mood for a good mystery, one that grabs you and doesn't let you go till the very end, I was fortunate in remembering that she had just come out with a new book. Let me tell you, this book did exactly what I was hoping for and more. The story centers on Libby Day, a broken woman who suffered an unthinkable tragedy when she was only seven years old: her mother and sisters were murdered by her teenage brother, and Libby's testimony helped put him in jail for the rest of his life. 24 years later, Libby is barely functioning and has pushed the memory of the tragedy into the back of her mind, her Dark Place. When Libby, through a series of events, realizes that she may have been wrong about her brother, she embarks on a journey to figure out the truth of what happened that night. The story has three different narrators, Libby in the present, on her journey, and her mother and brother in the past, each slowly revealing the events the day in question. All I can say is WOW! This book had me hooked. I listened to the audio (which is excellent) at work, and ended up sitting on my couch at home listening because I had to finish it. Now that I have, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. The broken characters are so realistic, the written is so vivid, and the story is so tragic that it stays with you for a long time. Great mystery, good for fans of literary mysteries like Laura Lippman's. Libby Day's family was murdered when she was seven, and her 15-year-old brother went to prison for the crime in large part due to Libby's testimony against him. Now, Libby is 31, still suffering from the effects of the murders, and the trust fund set up for her after the murders has just about run out. She's contacted by a member of a local true-crime club, the "Kill Club", and out of desperation agrees to visit the club in exchange for payment. Libby is a flawed, understandably depressed, unhappy, and unpleasant narrator, but is a tough cookie. When she finds that the members of the Kill Club do not at all believe her testimony against her brother, she is finally jumpstarted into investigating what really happened that day. The novel flashes back periodically to the time period just before the murders, depicting her brother's point of view as well as her mother's. It's a disturbing novel, but mesmerizing. If somebody went up to me and told that all women are victims of male brutality and evil, I would do two things. First off, laugh in their face and tell them to get some perspective.
Second, I'd tell them to go fuck themselves and choke on their snobb-y ness. There are, as I like to call them, man haters that believe that women are superior
to men in every single damn way, and have higher morals, and all people of the opposite sex are rapists and murderers who deserve to rot in Hell. I'm sorry, but women can be just as vicious, cold, and just plain "evil" as men can be. Gillian Flynn is a writer who has some perspective, and the woman are just as pathetic as the men. Everyone is this book is a liar, a thief, depressed, stuck-up, cold, wicked, twisted, and will do anything to get what they want.
I knew I was going to like this. Did I think I would love it? I had no clue. There are some 4 star books that I do love, but they're just not quite 5 star quality either (okay, I have given 5 stars to "fun" books as well). Maybe I had my expectations too low by expecting 4 stars. All I know for certain that if this book is an indicator of what I can expect from Gillian's other two books, she will wind up on my Kyle's Favorite Authors sidebar on my profile. Even if they aren't 5 stars, if they maintain good quality, they're a sho-in.
I just re-watched The Dark Knight in preparation for The Dark Knight Rises, and oh boy do I love my sociopathic clowns (oh and R.I.P. Heath Ledger - you're talent was beyond human comprehension). This is potentially a reason for why this book and I were meant to meet. If you see who I reccomend this book to, you'll know that this is not for people who think chic-lit is hard-core.
This is for people who think books about evil people are brilliant.
Almost twenty five years ago in the early hours of January 3rd, 1985, seven-yearold Libby Day crawled out the window of her mother's bedroom to save herself from a bloody massacare that left her two sisters and mother dead. Who did she testify as the killer? Her eldest sibling, fifteen-year-old Ben Day, who was almost accused of practicing in Satanic worship and killing animals for sacrifice. Now thirty-two, Libby is depressed, pathetic, and living off charity given to her being the soul survivor of the killings. However, she barely has over $900 left, unemployed, and is desperate for cash. When a offer from the Kill Club, a group of people obsessed with murderous mysteries, her's in particular, is given to potentially figure out who really killed the Days (she might have never actually seen Ben kill her family), she jumps on it.
Is she in over her head?
The mystery is well thought out, and not predictable in the least. Well, in just about 90% of that regard. I slightly figured one part of it out, and it does become more and more obvious the closer everything begins to unravel of course, at least one part of it. Some 3rd person chapters are told from Patty Day (mother)'s POV, and some of them from Ben, all of them from the 24 hours leading up to the massacare. Every question raised regarding it is given a logical answer, even if it seemed like nothing. Pay attention to details people - you'll see just how spectacular Flynn thought this through.
I wouldn't go as far as to say the characters are likeable, or even very sympathetic. However my heart does break for Libby, since she does have reason to be mad, depressed, even if it could be a bit of laziness as well. However not one character is unnessecary, and they all have their baggage. Diondra was never a character I liked, or even cared for, even when you find out she probably has a dysfunctional home life. Bitchiness can only be justified by so much.
The story is very quick, and those last 300 pages were extremely riveting (well, last 300 pages in the large print edition, which is the only kind my library had). The atmosphere is absolutely incredible, and had me convinced my dreams would be haunted by this. There are some scenes in this book were your eyes will be popping out of your head, especially if you hate brutality against animals. I was lying under a blanket with the AC blasting on as high as I could get it, so when you hear it's winter, there's snow on the ground, tempature is low, and there's killers in the night, I was a very freaked out reader.
This also deals with some pretty great themes, such as corruption, murder, acceptance, paranoia, and the human urge to condem something they don't understand fully.
So, if you can handle rather explicit sex, violence, and have enough perspective to accept that women and men alike are volatile and destructive, and love your mysteries dark and gritty (and unpredictable of course) this is the book you need to read.
I cannot wait to read Sharp Objects, which is available for pickup at my library. Normally, it is usualy hard to sympathize with a flawed character, especially when the character is looking to take advantage of the tragedy of her disfunctional family's slaughter, and her status as a victim. But Gillian Flynn painted her in great details, going back and forth from the narrator Libby Day 's childhood, to present, bringing forth her innocence and the horrifying circumstances of witnessing through sounds, of her entire family being murdured and seeing the aftermath. The ending was masterfully done and I can see myself looking to the bookshelves for her latest novel. Stephen King who recommends Gillian Flynn, wrote she is'the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macrabre.' and I believe I always do well in mindlessly buying books that he recommends. Disturbing, violent, dark and mysterious with a hypnotic tendency towards the macabre! Gillian Flynn did it again!
I read Flynn's first novel in February and I immensely fell in love with it. It was shocking, violent, dark but it was also amazingly clever. So I had to read more books by her! I am so glad that I did! This is, dare I say, even better that Sharp Objects!
This was such a dark and violent read, exactly like Flynn's first work. She is not affraid to hint many difficult subjects that are rarely hinted together in literature! However, although I was comfortable with the subject of her first novel I was not with the theme of this one, satanism. It is a very sensitive theme for me. But my fears were proven wrong. I love how uncomfortable Flynn made me feel! How much the events in her story affected me!
But the themes hinted in the novel don't end in Satan worshiping. There are also brutal killings, molestation, drugs, bullying,and underage sex. But Flynn hints all those subjects in a very beautiful way. Without a doubt her books are not for everyone. They are very, very disturbing. But if you are comfortable with that I highly recommend them if you are looking for a read that will keep awake till the late hours.
Because Flynn's stories are really un-put-down-able. You cannot but get addicted by her dark mysteries highlighted with characters amazingly developed. This is another aspect that makes her books so good. Her ability to create characters multidimensional and profound. A good mystery really lies upon characters and Flynn's can really carry a story that surprises you constantly. What is also very surprising is that most of her characters are brutal, nasty women with violent sides.
The main character at first is not likeable at all. But as you read further you get to understand and love parts of her. You get to understand how she was affected by the events surounding her family. I was suprised of her strength. It is amazing how Flynn outlines her characters. Every detail is important and it turns the reader toward another direction of who could the murderer be. She really is an ingenious writer. It's just impossible to predict what is going to happen. Every single theory I made was rebutted! The ending really hit me! I was not expecting it at all!
What I also loved in this book is that it is filled with flashbacks of the characters that die in the beginning of the novel and whose deaths we are trying to solve out. All those flashbacks made me love these characters that we know that end up in a very bad ending & I really didn't want to see them hurt. All the emotions that this clever trick created to me were unbelievable. It was amazing how the story unfold. With every page I got drown more and more into the plot.
Gillian Flynn is a great writer! There is no doubt about it now. After I read two novels by her I can surely say that she is one of the most genius authors I have ever read. How she twisted the events in her book, how every single detail mattered, how she described every event with her amazing writing that really gets you into the story is unbelievable. I had to stop after every few lines to say "wow". This is how much I loved it. There is no question of why Flynn has taken the world by storm. Her books are spectacular.
Even if mysteries are not your cup of tea, you have to read Flynn's books. There are exemplary! She has the ability to surprise you in the most unexpected ways. Her books have exactly what I look for in a good read. Twists, characters that flip out of the pages and a clever plot. I cannot wait to read more books by her!
Once you step into Flynn's world, into her weird mind you just cannot stop reading her books! You get swallowed by the darkness of her stories. You just cannot stop as you swirl down into the rabbit whole of her dark, violent, ingenious mysteries.
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