“Dark Places” Book Review

Crown Publishing Group

‘Dark Places’ by Gillian Flynn is an adult thriller/mystery novel that keeps you engaged through the active investigation into the murder of Libby Day’s family. Libby Day was seven years old when her mom and two older sisters were murdered in their own home. After the murders occured, Libby testified against her brother, Ben, and had him convicted of all three murders. Years later, Libby is finally forced to face that maybe Ben is not guilty after all and her family’s killer could still be on the loose.
Usually, while reading mystery novels, I suspect what the ending will be before I reach it. With this novel, however, I was left clueless until the very end. The story is told through the perspectives of Ben, Libby, and their late mother Patty switching between past and present, which gives the story an interesting dynamic. The most interesting part of this story is how the case is looked at in the past and present. The murders take place in the winter of 1985, and are reinvestigated in the present day. It is so interesting to see how far technology and the way people thought of things changed in a matter of a few years.
Having Libby Day as a narrator works so well for this book, as she is a deeply traumatized girl, who has pushed down her memories of that night and when forced to recount them, takes her time in doing so. This makes her truly human. In mystery novels we often see these brilliant detectives take on cases they know how to deal with. Seeing this young woman go from ignoring the problem altogether to taking initiative to prove her brother’s innocence is a story worth reading.
In addition to dealing with her trauma, Libby also rises out of the shell she has built for herself in the wake of her family’s deaths. In the book we learn she never went to college or got a job and just lived off the money people had donated to her in the wake of her tragedy. When asked to reinvestigate the murders Libby begins to open back up to others and form friendships, giving us a glimpse of the person she would have become.
“True friends are those rare people who come to find you in dark places and lead you back to the light.”
All in all, this is a great book for anyone seeking a thrill. If you end up reading this and enjoying it, be sure to check out Flynn’s other novels ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Sharp object\;’ these are also thrilling reads that are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Four out of five spartan heads from me!