Review – Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places

Title:  Dark Places

Author: Gillian Flynn

Pages:  452

Series:  No, standalone

Genre:  Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Publisher:  Crown Publishing Group

Date Published:  January 1, 2009

My Rating:   ****

Goodreads Summary:

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 have 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.

My Thoughts:  Gillian Flynn’s books are a little bit darker than most authors, but I love them .  The fast pace kept me up late because I had to find out what happened.  When I heard about Gone Girl I had to read it as soon as I could get my hands on a copy and then after that I wanted to read all of Gillian Flynn’s books.  It took me this long to get a hold of Dark Places and it was worth it.


  • POV –  Told by Libby, the survivor of her family massacre, her brother who was accused of the murders, and her mother’s past, it keeps building the suspense up all the way to the end.
  • Love it when you think you know where a book is going and it surprises you.  It kept me guessing who the killer was the whole way.
  • It’s a refreshing change to have the woman be just as despicable as the men in stories.


  • Didn’t have any favorite characters, not even the main character, Libby.  Flynn’s characters are not very likeable.  They are violent, selfish, and imperfect.  But that’s the way they are supposed to be written.  It works for the story though, so this isn’t really a dislike.

Memorable Quote:

i was not a lovable child, and i’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.

Would I Recommend This Book?  Yes.  It’s complex and suspenseful.

About this Author:

Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.

Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families,violence and self-harm.

In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers’ Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

Review Quotes:
“Gillian Flynn is the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre.”
–Stephen King

Other Books by This Author:

  • Gone Girl
  • Sharp Objects

One thought on “Review – Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

  1. Pingback: Review: Dark Places | aisinikins

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