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Dark Places

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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 brother'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?

424 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

Gillian Flynn

29 books85.1k followers
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

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 42,387 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
April 22, 2016
“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”

I highly recommend reading this whilst sitting in the sun with plenty of happy people around you (as I did) - that way you can avoid contracting something evil and nasty from its pages, and also avoid losing any hope you had for humanity.

Okay, sorry, I make it sound so negative when actually this book is pretty fantastic if you can stomach the horrors within. I ate this up in a couple of days, finding every opportunity to read that I could... Flynn certainly has a talent for dragging you into her stories and having them take you over until you find out just what the hell is going on.

As much as I enjoyed its dark predecessor - Sharp Objects - I think Dark Places was, for me, a more complex and well-developed mystery.

I had many theories as to what was going on and all of them were wrong. You know, I honestly think that writing a mystery story must be the most difficult of all, because the reader is your enemy. Most readers of mystery stories will analyse the information they're given, pull it apart, and try desperately to solve the mystery before the characters do - and yet, if they are successful, they feel disappointed. For an author to manage to pull out something both surprising and convincingly real at the end of all this, they have to have a talent for it.

Dark Places alternates between the present day and 1985 when Ben Day allegedly massacred three members of his family, his sister - Libby - being the only one to escape and testify as a witness, sending Ben to a life in prison. Now, after years of living on the donations made by concerned members of the public, Libby Day has finally run out of money and is forced to earn some cash by making an appearance at a group meeting where the members believe Ben is innocent. At first, Libby is willing to write them off as crazy fanatics with a grisly obsession... but as more information is presented to her, she starts to question what really happened all those years ago.

The story is told from three main points of view and, to say I'm not a fan of multiple perspectives, I thought it was done excellently. Patty Day is an exhausted mother-of-four who starts to fear her son is becoming involved in satanic rituals; torn between wanting to protect him and being a little afraid of what his behaviour means, we begin to question through her eyes whether the heavy metal-loving loner could really have it in him to become a murderer.

Then we have Ben Day's point of view. Being inside his mind is a little frightening - we see how his thoughts become increasingly dark, how just wanting to have something normal can lead to the most abnormal behaviour... but does that mean he would really murder his family?

And, of course, there is Libby Day. Libby Day is the reason I think I enjoy Flynn's novels so much. She is so imperfect, complex, selfish, violent... but somehow you manage to stay on her side. I have no idea how the author manages this, but I've always loved a protagonist with issues, the kind of issues that make them lash out in ways that would make you hate them if you weren't inside their head, understanding them. She does some horrible things and, though you don't necessarily forgive her for them, you are able to see why.

If you're okay reading about filth, gore, and underage sex, then you should dive into this mystery straight away and immerse yourself in the disturbing but awesome mental workings of Gillian Flynn.

Last updated: April 2016

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Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
March 17, 2020
cool idea, shitty ending
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 19, 2018
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.

gillian flynn sure does love writing about horrible people doing horrible things.and i sure do love reading about them. especially because she isn't one of those writers coasting on shock value and "can you belieeeeeve a delicate flower of a woman is writing this??" but she can really tell a story and i, for one, was completely surprised and pleased by the ending of this one.

libby's mother and two older sisters were murdered when she was seven years old, apparently in some sort of satanic bloodbath masterminded by her older brother ben. she escaped and was instrumental in getting him put behind bars, in one of those "lean on the kid and make them say what needs to be said to convict someone" situations. twenty-five years later, she is a mess - a flat broke kleptomaniac, pissed off at the world, and terrible at any social expectations, until she is approached by a group whose specialty is studying violent crimes, trading memorabilia, constructing alternate scenarios of horrorshows; criminal tourists. and libby pumps them for cash while promising to look into the crime she lived through, and reconnect with her brother and father in order to solve a crime she believes has already been solved.

but it is far from over, man. there are all kinds of things she is going to learn about that night, and about her family, and about her own self.

and it's going to get creepy.

it is great, great, great. it is not perfect - i personally had some difficulties with character motivation and behavior, but it doesn't matter because it all works within flynn's dirty little world, and she manages to convince you that these characters are going to do what they are going to do within their need-spheres, and just because it doesn't make sense to youuuuu, just be thankful for that, yeah?

it is really chilling stuff - oh, god - remember the frenzy of satanic finger-pointing of the 80's? there were cults everywhere, right? all the animal sacrifices and the heavy metal music and the teenage killers under the spell of the dark one? and even though none of it ever panned out into anything, that frenzy, that imagined threat was so convincing to so many pearl-clutching mothers. it would be adorable now, except for reading this book, and remembering that actual people were accused and convicted because of half-whispered urban legends. oops.

it's a great bloody crime story. its pacing is sublime; she always knows just how far to take the reader before switching up the focus to cause the maximum amount of anticipatory distress, she knows how to cover her tracks and how to deliver the most effective kaboom of an ending. and you might not like any of these characters, but you will still sympathize with them, despite your better instincts.

i seem to have run out of gillian flynn books.
more, please.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
April 4, 2017
*4.5 Stars*

Gillian Flynn scares me.

But it’s a good scare! A keep-you-up-all-night-anxiously-reading-because-closing-the-book-is-not-an-option kinda scare.

If you thought Gone Girl was twisted, make room for Dark Places because this suspenseful thriller takes “freaky” to a whole *nuther* level.

I went in thinking I was fully prepared.

I wasn’t.

This book is so astoundingly demented, it truly makes me wonder exactly how Miss Flynn thinks up such bold scenarios. The plot is so “out-there”, yet way too close - creating a palpable level of discomfort for the reader—but I, for one, could not look away.

This author knows how to stretch the creep-factor to its limits, just short of over-the-top, delivering a crazy, yet still fathomable plot. She masters the art of description until the details begin materializing, and suddenly you're visualizing them whether you’re trying to or not.

Libby Day. What a truly unique, unforgettable character. So mentally and emotionally deranged, you cant help but want to reach out to her…(with a six foot pole, of course;)

Because she feels so damn real. Her thoughts, her actions—so cynical and bitter. But who wouldn't be after experiencing the torment she has.

I assumed everything bad in the world could happen, because everything bad in the world already did happen.

Libby’s family was brutally murdered in their home, but little seven-year old Libby somehow survived the gruesome massacre. Largely due to Libby’s testimony, her wallflower brother becomes tried and convicted for these satanic murders.

Now Libby is a grown woman who is beginning to question the details of that fateful night long ago. A night she has buried deep inside, desperate to forget. But there are things that refuse to be forgotten…

And so begins the suspenseful journey, as the plot glides through past and present, alternating between a first and third person perspective—Libby serving as the story’s narrator.

And her unhappy, defeated voice is one I will not forget.

With this particular story, I think the writing won me over even more so than the plot. Although I was completely sucked into the mystery, marathon-guessing like it was my job, the ending somehow left me ever-so-slightly disappointed. It’s difficult to place my finger on why. I wanted BIG, but maybe this was a little too big? I’m still unsure. In any case, this author has a genius grasp on storytelling, and I will gladly read anything she writes.

But for now, I’m off to read something happy(ish)…

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Book Stats:
▪  Genre/Category: Mystery/Thriller
▪  Graphic Nature: Racy and bold
▪ Romance: Twisted
▪  Characters: Unlovable but unforgettable
▪  Plot: A twisty and suspenseful murder mystery
▪ Writing: Flawless, poetic, bold, and edgy
▪ POV: Switches between 3rd and 1st person: heroine
▪  Cliffhanger: None/Standalone
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,406 reviews11.6k followers
October 2, 2010
As seen on The Readventurer

Seriously, what goes on in Gillian Flynn's head? She writes the freakiest stuff. Sharp Objects was nasty enough, and Dark Places is just as vile. Luckily for her, I (along with millions of people) like vile now and then.

Libby Day is a sole survivor of a horrendous massacre. Her mother and two sisters were brutally killed one winter night and, mostly thanks to Libby's testimony, the murders were attributed to Libby's older brother Ben, an alleged active Satan worshiper. Now, almost 25 years later, 32-year old Libby is out of money that had been donated to her by well-wishers over the years and must look for a new source of income. She settles on helping the Kill Club (a group of obsessed women who believe in Ben's innocence) to re-investigate the murders, for money of course. As Libby starts talking to various people involved in the original investigation at the Kill Club's request, her strong belief in Ben's guilt starts wavering...

I am fairly certain now that Gillian Flynn's "schtick" is writing about VERY BAD women. We are presented with an array of them in Dark Places - they lie to get attention, they abuse, they blackmail, they mooch, they kill, they are weak and pathetic. It is, no doubt, a novel approach to women empowerment. If women are equal to men, they can be equally despicable, right? The men are no better - they are good-for-nothing losers mostly. What I am getting at is that you can hardly find any likable characters in this book, which for many readers is a must (not me though).

The story itself is gruesome. Prepare yourself for brutal killings, molestation, bullying, Satan worshiping, drugs and underage sex. Some parts are so tough to read, I had to put the book aside for awhile.

But underneath the filth, there is a great mystery - well-paced, suspenseful, full of red herrings, it keeps you guessing until the very last moment who the perpetrator is.

Just like Sharp Objects, this book is absolutely not for everybody. But I thoroughly enjoyed this freaky thriller and will wait with anticipation for the release of Gillian Flynn's next macabre mystery.
Profile Image for Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym).
596 reviews61 followers
January 15, 2014
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 farfetched.

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.
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,978 followers
September 22, 2014
As someone who grew up in rural Kansas and has lived in the suburbs of Kansas City for the last fourteen years, I made my peace long ago with the fact that I don’t reside in one of the hip places on the map. The only Kansas based things that have worked their way into popular culture are In Cold Blood and that goddamn Wizard of Oz. (As a Kansan, I listen to everyone I’ve met from somewhere else do the “I guess you’re not in Kansas anymore! Ha ha!” thing and can barely resist the urge to punch them in the throat.)

But it seems like every book, film or tv show is set in either New York or L.A. with a few other places like Miami, Chicago or Boston thrown in now and then. I think half the reason I’m such a huge fan of John Sandford is that most of his books are set in Minneapolis, and he’s shown that there actually is life in the Midwest. I know that the folks who run the various entertainment industries like to talk about getting us off our tractors long enough to sample their wares, but it seems like the only attempts to include us in the stories either mock us as morons or sentimentalize small town life to vomit inducing degrees.

Gillian Flynn is originally from Kansas City, and her first book was very well received so I was excited to hear that Dark Places was set in both rural Kansas and K.C. Of course, it involved the slaughter of a family on the prairie, going back to the In Cold Blood thing, but I’ll take what I can get. I was excited to get one of the rare chances to read a story set in the place I live.

Unfortunately, Flynn didn’t do her old hometown any favors because it seems like she singled out every depressing aspect like the run down old stockyards and warehouse district that’s got some of the worst urban decay in the area. Or I-70 between K.C. and St. Louis that is filled with tacky billboards and low rent strip clubs. One restaurant that she uses as a location recently burned to the ground, and its owner is charged with arson. I know she was telling a story about the aftermath of a brutal crime and how it screwed up the sole survivor, but damn! Would it have killed her to have a character pop down to Power & Light for a drink? The K.C. tourism board would have thanked her for it.

Enough of my bitching. About the book: Back in 1985 on a rundown Kansas farm, a mother and two daughters are brutally killed. Young Libby Day manages to survive by fleeing the house, and it’s her testimony that convicts her fifteen year old brother Ben of the crime. Supposedly, Ben was a Satan worshipping freak who went shotgun and axe happy one winter night.

In the present, thirty-one year old Libby is a freaking mess. She doesn’t make it out of bed some days, she’s a kleptomaniac, she has no friends, and she usually can’t even manage to take care of simple things like remembering to buy cat food, wash her sheets or fill her ice cube trays.

Libby has been living off the trust fund that started when donations poured in after the murders, but the money is about to run out. Desperate, Libby agrees to a paid appearance for the Kill Club, a group of amateur investigators who think that her brother is innocent. Libby doesn’t even want to think about her brother, but offers of more cash get her motivated to start visiting people connected to the murders. Suddenly, Libby isn’t so sure that Ben was the killer after all.

The story is told in two parallel ways. We get Libby’s first person account of her activities in the present, while a third person narrative of the last day of her family gives us the background of what happened in 1985.

This is a character based mystery, and Flynn does a great job with both the struggling Libby in the present and the family in 1985. The stark reality of a poor farm family in the mid-’80s along with Libby’s pathetic life as an adult makes for a pretty depressing story, but Flynn really sucks the reader into the plight of everyone involved. I was somewhat let down by the ending, but I can’t say much about that without spoilers.

While this book probably won’t convince anyone to move to Kansas, it’s a good read for those who don’t mind a raw story about just how much life can sometimes suck, even if you don’t get chopped to bits with an axe.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
May 9, 2021

I was raised feral, and I mostly stayed that way.
Libby Day is famous for all the wrong reasons.

When she was seven years old when her mother and two sisters were murdered at the height of the Satanic Panic in her small town in Kansas.

All the evidence pointed to Ben, Libby's older brother. The same older brother that Libby adored and idolized.

And with that, Libby's life came crashing down, and it hasn't stopped falling since.
I was not a lovable child, and I'd grown into a deeply unlovable adult.
And now, 25 years later, Libby is scraping down rock bottom.

And just when life seems bleakest, the Kill Club approaches her.
I felt something loosen in me, that shouldn't have loosened. A stitch come undone.
The Kill Club goes chasing after unsolved murders and are obsessed with notorious crimes. They're willing pay Libby to look into her own past.

They're convinced that her brother is innocent and the more she talks to them, the more she sees their point...but...if that's truly the case, why did he go so willingly into prison?

Whewww....this book was wild.

Each of Gillian's books are so unsettling in their unique way - and this one was no exception.

We follow several different perspectives - modern-day Libby, Ben on the day-of the murder and Libby's mom (also on the murder-day).

Despite the book having so many different narrators, each one of them felt so distinct and I was wholly engrossed.

They were really well balanced, with each jump in perspective giving a slightly different piece to the puzzle and watching the mystery unravel was crazy.

This book truly was amazing - highly recommended for the Flynn Fan!

Audiobook Comments
Rebecca Lowman read this one and wow, she brought this book to life. Her timing, her pacing, her tone and inflection - it was all so spot on. Loved it!

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.8k followers
July 2, 2019
my first experience with gillian flynn was a minor disaster. i had no idea how dark and disturbing her stories would be, so i was nowhere close to being in the right mental state for that kind of thing. now knowing the twisted things she is capable of writing, i found this book to be quite thrilling!

ive also found GF has quite a slow paced style of writing but, with this particular story, i thought it worked really well. it helps develop the characters, establish a timeline of day of the crime, and provide little clues and hints along the way. the ending isnt quite as shocking as i may have liked - with the slow pace and good details, its easy to see where things are headed - but i thought it was an ending suitable for the story.

overall, im so relieved i didnt dislike this as much as ‘sharp objects’ and now im even more excited to pick up ‘gone girl!’

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,142 reviews3,566 followers
June 27, 2015
Gripping and entertained!


You gotta believe in something, right? Everyone has their thing.

This is my second novel by Gillian Flynn, and now I am realizing that I have been reading them backwards, I mean in the opposite publishing order, but this has been due mainly the order of film adaptations. However, I won’t wait until having any film adaptation of Sharp Objects, to read that one. I do hope to read it in the following months.

My reading experience with Gone Girl wasn’t any good as I would expect, BUT I have to admit that it has a really unique narration style making it worhty to be in anyone’s TBR book list. And odd enough I enjoyed A LOT the film adaptation of that one, while I watched after reading the book and taking in account that it’s basically the same story, but I enjoyed it better in the movie format.

I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy this book, Dark Places, but happily I can say that the reading experience with this novel was truly wonderful. Maybe it lacks of more intense action at the climax (I won't spoil it, don't worry), but definitely I enjoy a lot the whole reading experience of the book.

I am truly glad of deciding to read it. I still have to watch the movie (at the moment that I am writing this review) but I hope to be able to watch it soon.


And every single person in this case lies, is lying, did lie.

Dark Places is the tragic and grim story of the Day Family, told in the voices of Libby Day (main character), Patty Day (her mother) and Ben Day (his brother).

Libby’s family had just the opposite a nice day, like 25 years ago...

...her mother and her two other sisters were murdered and Ben, his brother was charged with the killings, getting a conviction where Libby’s testimony was a key factor for it.

Now, Libby is an adult woman, and very soon she will be totally penniless. She got many donations around the country (United States), mainly at the momento of the tragedy, and she has been able to dispose of the money too good. She never studied, never worked, never did anything.

Libby is exposed to a singular kind of fans about unsolved murders or cases where the convictions have something wrong. A Killing Club, reuniting former cops, former detectives and even regular people interested about police cases. She is shocked to know that there are too many people believing that his brother is innocent, and her own doubts about what really happened that terrible night, 25 years ago, are starting to increase big.

Between her personal reasons of wanting to know what really happened that dark night and her current struggling economic status, Libby thinks that she can kill two birds with one stone, since this “Killing Club” is willing to pay her enough money to go and interview the people involved in the case and since she is Libby Day, there is a high potential that that people would open in an easier way to her than strangers.

Readers will get to know, slowly but methodically, exactly what happened that terrible day, having chapters with the voice of Libby right now, but also the voices of Patty and Ben, but those two set back in the past, on that fateful day. Present and past will be intermixed offering the pieces of the puzzle that the readers want to put together, BUT it won’t be easy since human beings are natural liars and the Day Family isn’t better if not worse.


That’s what they were: a home past the expiration date.

It’s obvious that the case of the Day Family’s murders wasn’t handle as it should, but it’s amazing how easy an alibi can be stated. Unless there is some evidence putting you in the crime scene, it seems that basically you only need to convince somebody else to say that you were with him/her at the moment of the crime, and bam! You’re off the hook!

Nobody is perfect, but certainly the Day Family never tried any hard to be one. You will have an unique access to the minds and feeling of three of the main members of the family, but also, thanks to them, you will get to know the rest of members of this broken kindred.

You won’t have heroes here. Only survivors. And certainly when money is scarse, the Day Family doesn’t hesitate to make crazy hard calls.
Blood is thicker than water, so families’ bonds are strong to smash, but also, families aren’t a static things but in constant evolution, and due that bloods can become even more thicker, specially if something isn’t quite right (to say the least) in your head.


Everyone who keeps a secret itches to tell it.

A mystery is something great, it’s something wonderful, since a mystery always is screaming to be solved. A mystery exists to be solved...

...but a secret?

A secret is something intimidating, it’s something maddening, since a secret always is silently screaming to remain unspoken, hidden. Knowing about the existence of a secret is a contradiction itself.

Therefore, people do their best to keep the secrets, but it’s something too heavy, so, to lighten some of the burden, people become crafty to “expose” the secret at plain sight, but in a clever way.

Even dark places aren’t enough to keep a secret.

Meet the Day Family...

...at your own risk!

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews50 followers
March 13, 2022
Dark Places, Gillian Flynn

Dark Places is a mystery novel by Gillian Flynn published in 2009. The novel deals with class issues in rural America, intense poverty and the Satanic cult hysteria that swept the United States in the 1980's.

Libby Day, the novel's narrator and protagonist, is the sole survivor of a massacre in Kinnakee, Kansas, a fictional rural town. After witnessing the murders of her two sisters and mother, in what appears to be a Satanic cult ritual, she escapes through a window and later testifies in court against her teenage brother.

Twenty-five years after the massacre, Libby, in need of money, meets with a group of amateur investigators who believe that her brother is innocent of the crime. At their coaxing, she meets her brother, Ben for the first time, but is not convinced that he didn't do it. She also meets with her father, now homeless, but is not convinced he played a part in it either.

Through her investigation, she learns of her brother's secret girlfriend, as well as accusations against him for child molestation. Interspersed with the modern day investigation are flashbacks to the day of the massacre. These flashbacks are told from the points of view of Libby's mother, Patty, and her convicted brother, Ben. Patty's viewpoints discuss the difficulties of trying to keep the family farm while raising four children alone; Ben tells the story of a troubled teenager as he falls in with a bad crowd. These viewpoints paint a picture of a grim life of desperate poverty, marital abuse and abandonment that characterize life on the farm prior to the murder.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «مکانهای تاریک»؛ «جاهای تاریک»؛ نویسنده: گیلیان فلاین (فلین)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و پنجم ماه آگوست سال2017میلادی

عنوان: مکانهای تاریک؛ نویسنده: گیلیان فلاین (فلین)؛ مترجم: فرینوش آقایی؛ کرج در دانش بهمن‏‫، سال1395؛ در491ص؛ شابک9789641741954؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

عنوان: جاهای تاریک؛ نویسنده: گیلیان فلاین (فلین)؛ مترجم: مهدی فیاضی‌کیا؛ تهران، چترنگ‏‫، سال1396؛ در552ص؛ شابک9786008066156؛ چاپ دوم سال1397؛

کتاب «جاهای تاریک»، یک رمان معمایی، اثر: «گیلین فلین» است، که نخستین بار در سال2009میلادی، منتشر شد

نقل از پشت جلد کتاب: («لیبی دی» هفت ساله بود، که مادر و خواهرش، در خانه‌ شان به قتل رسیدند؛ او که از آن شب هولناک جان سالم به در برده، برادر پانزده ساله‌ ی خودش، «بن»، را، به عنوان قاتل معرفی می‌کند؛ بیست‌ و پنج سال بعد، نامه ی کوتاهی، به دست «لیبی» می‌رسد، که او را وامی‌دارد، دوباره گذشته‌ اش را مرور کند، گذشته‌ ای که ترجیح می‌دهد، فراموشش کند؛ نامه از سوی «کلوب قتل» فرستاده شده، گروهی که سرگرمی‌شان، کشف راز قتل‌های مبهم است؛ آن‌ها در تلاش‌ هستند، شواهدی را گردآوری کنند، که ثابت می‌کند: «بن» بی‌گناه است؛ «لیبی» که می‌خواهد، با پژوهش در مورد قتل‌ها پولی به جیب بزند؛ یکایک کسانی را که در آن شب سهمی داشتند، پیدا می‌کند، و از زیر زبانشان حرف می‌کشد؛ کم‌ کم، حقیقتی باورنکردنی آشکار می‌شود، و «لیبی» دوباره به خانه ی نخست بازمی‌گردد؛ او باز هم باید از دست قاتل بگریزد)؛ پایان نقل

نقل از متن: («پتی دی»؛ دوم ژانویه سال1985میلادی؛ ساعت هشت و دو دقیه صبح؛ پسر باز داشت با تلفن حرف میزد و مادرش هم صدای کارتونی و یواشکی پسرش را میشنید، که پشت در اتاقش با تلفن پچ پچ میکرد؛ پسر خواسته بود توی خانه یک خط تلفن دیگر داشته باشد؛ قسم خورده بود که نصف همکلاسیهایش خط تلفن مخصوص خودشان را دارند؛ اسم این خط ها، «خط مخصوص بچه های خانه» بود؛ «پتی» خندید و بعدش هم عصبانی شد؛ چون پسر به خاطر خنده، از دستش عصبانی شده بود؛ ( نه بابا جدی؟ خط تلفن مخصوص بچه ها؟ این بچه ها دیگر چقدر لوس شده اند؟) هیچکدام دیگر دوباره بحثش را پیش نکشیدند؛ هر دو راحت معذب میشدند؛ چند هفته بعدش هم پسر سرش را انداخت پایین و آمد خانه و محتویات زنبیلش را نشانش داد: یک مقسم خط که اجازه میداد دو تا دستگاه تلفن از یک خط استفاده کنند، و یک تلفن پلاستیکیِ حسابی سبک که با نمونه های مشابهِ اسباب بازی صورتی رنگ که دختربچه ها با آنها منشی بازی میکردند، چندان فرقی نداشت؛ دخترها توی تلفن میگفتند: «دفتر آقای بنجامین دی؟» و سعی میکردند برادر بزرگتر را وارد تلفن بازی کنند؛ «بن» عادت داشت لبخند بزند و به آنها بگوید که پیام بگذارند؛ بعدش هم کلاً پیام ها را نادیده میگرفت
از وقتی «بن» خرت و پرت هایش را آورد خانه، عبارت «سیم تلفن نعلتی» در خانواده «دی» رایج شد؛ سیم از خروجیهای آشپزخانه همینطور پیچ و تاب خوران میآمد و از روی «اپن»، به انتهای راهرو میرفت، و از زیر شکاف در اتاقش که همیشه بسته بود، پیچ میخورد و رد میشد؛ روزی حداقل یکبار پای یکی میخورد به سیم، و از عقبش صدای جیغ (اگر یکی از دخترها بود)، یا بد وبیراه (اگر «پتی» یا «بن» بود) بلند میشد؛ «پتی» بارها از «بن» خواسته بود، که سیم را به دیوار بچسباند، و او هم بارها پشت گوش انداخته بود؛ «پتی» مدام سعی میکرد به خودش بقبولاند که کارهای «بن»، یکدندگیِ معمولِ نوجوانی است، اما «بن» رفتارش خیلی تهاجمی بود، و «پتی» را نگران میکرد، که چرا این پسر اینقدر عصبانی یا تنبل است، یا حتی چیز بدتری که هنوز به مخیله اش خطور نکرده، و تازه «بن» با کی حرف میزد؟ قبل از اینکه خط تلفن دوم این خانه مثل یک معما اضافه شود، کمتر کسی به «بن» زنگ میزد؛ دو تا رفیق نزدیک داشت، که برادران «میولر» بودند؛ دو نفر با لباس کشاورزی مخصوص «سازمان کشاورزان آینده آمریکا» و آنقدر تودار و منزوی، که اگر تلفن را «پتی» جواب میداد، گاهی قطع میکردند، ولی «پتی» به «بن» خبر میداد که یا «جیم» یا «اد» زنگ زده اند، و کارش دارند؛ اما تا به حال هیچوقت از این گفت و گوهای تلفنی طولانی مدت پشت درهای بسته، خبری نبود «پتی» حدس زد شاید پسرش بالاخره دوست دختر پیدا کرده، اما تا چند تا اشاره کوچک آمد، که ته و توی قضیه را دربیاورد، «بن» جوری معذب شد، که رنگِ پریده پوستش سفید و کبود شد، و کک مک های کهربایی رنگش برق زدند، انگار هشدار باشد؛ «پتی» هم کلاً بی خیال قضیه شد؛ از آن مادرهایی نبود که خودش را بچپاند به بچه ها که جیک و پوک زندگیشان را بیرون بکشد؛ یک پسر پانزده ساله توی خانه ای پر از زن، همین طوری هم به اندازه کافی برای حفظ حریم خصوصی خودش اذیت میشد؛ یک روز که «بن» از مدرسه آمد و دید «میشل» در حال وررفتن به کشوهای میزش است، روی در اتاقش قفل زد؛ برای زدنِ قفل روی در هم از کسی اجازه نگرفت: یک چکش، چند تا بنگ و یک دفعه تمام؛ حالا لانه پسرانه اش امن شده بود؛ باز هم «پتی» فکر نکرد «بن» مقصر باشد؛ این خانه ی روستایی در این چند سالی که «رانر» رفته بود، دخترانه شده بود؛ پرده ها، مبل ها، حتی شمعها رنگ و شکلِ دخترانه گرفته بود؛ کفشهای صورتی کوچولو، و لباس زیرهای گل منگلی، و کشوها و کمدهای پر از سنجاق سر؛ همین یکی دو تا اظهار وجود مختصرِ «بن» که شامل آن سیم تلفن پیچ پیچی، و آن قفل فلزی مردانه میشد، عملاً درک شدنی بود.)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 06/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 21/12/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Kavita.
783 reviews382 followers
February 14, 2021
Wow, I am flabbergasted! Is this what people are reading in the name of 'mystery' these days? A boring book, with unpleasant and unrealistic characters and an unbelievable resolution. The protagonist is Libby Day, a woman whose family was murdered when she was a child, and she was the one who gave evidence that put her brother behind bars for these murders. Twenty four years later, when she is contacted by a murder club, which offers to pay money to her to help them investigate, she accepts the assignment. So starts a dangerous journey back into the past. An interesting premise, but very, very badly executed.

First, the protagonist is not someone I was rooting for. I didn't need her to be likeable, but she wasn't just unlikeable, she was positively annoying. She is without a single redeeming feature, which would make a dark character interesting and realistic. And is she a whiner! I can't stand whiners. She makes her way through the book, consistently whining from one situation to the other. And not just her, ALL the other characters in the book are also consistently vile, nasty and caricature villains. It's like the author thinks that making people completely nasty is being realistic. It's not. Ever read A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier? It's about a young boy in a war-torn country taking up arms, but it's not relentlessly dark. There are light moments when good things happen, and it's a TRUE story. This is where Flynn really fails in making her novel realistic.

Second, I am not really a fan of graphic violence and nastiness, described in unnecessary detail. Especially, when it's only fiction. I mean, there are 4-5 descriptions of vomiting in the book. would people look at vomit in such detail in real life? It's hardly realistic from any point of view. The author adds scene after scene of violence and depravity merely for shock value. That's just lazy writing. There was a completely unnecessary chapter consisting almost entirely of butchering a cow. Which did not add to the plot at all. Neither did the entire Satanism angle make any sense. Though there was a panic at this time about Satanic ritual abuse, it did not really exist !

The resolution takes place in two parts . One of them follows to a logical, if uninteresting, conclusion, while the other just appears out of nowhere, just tacked on for even more shock value. I am really disappointed that after wading through pages of reading about people throwing up, taking drugs and cleaning up refuse in great detail, this flimsy, unrealistic, tacky ending is what I got!

And my final, but really my most important grouse, what's with Flynn and women making false allegations of sexual abuse? There is a side plot that is tacked on for no reason - . Considering that she did pretty much the same with Gone Girl and is an incredibly popular author for some reason, it's worrying what message she is consistently sending across. With ALL the depravity and nastiness among the characters, surely it could have been a real case of abuse? Or is the author one of those who think that 'most' cases of molestation are false? Is she a member of MRA?

There are a couple of positive things. For one thing, the research is so detailed that in a different book, it would have been a real pleasure. She makes plenty of references to real murders that took place, and as someone interested in True Crime, I found that a great addition. Another is that you can see that Flynn has a talent for writing and has great ideas. Too bad, she chose to tell a boring story with uninteresting characters.

I really wouldn't recommend this book, but considering it's such a huge success, maybe I am the odd one out? I certainly think it has some major concerns, and I completely call bullshit on the 'it's realistic!' viewpoint. It's not.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
785 reviews12.5k followers
April 26, 2023
Lesson learned # 1: Gillian Flynn is excellent at creating unpleasant characters and disturbing situations.
“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.”
Lesson learned # 2: Reading her books in a dark apartment at 3 am is a big making-skin-crawl mistake.

Dark Places is a book capable of leaving a nasty aftertaste and vague uncomfortable feeling for days after finishing it. I strongly suspect it is its intended effect. For which I almost grudgingly¹ have to say to Flynn - nice work there.
¹Why grudgingly? Because this book made me feel torn. When I think of it, it's almost like I think of two separate books: a bit contrived and shoddily resolved murder mystery as well as an excellently disturbing voyage into the unpleasant recesses of human mind.
These two impressions of mine seem to be split almost exclusively along the framework of the story: the unsatisfying bit being mostly the story of present-day Libby Day, told in the first person as she struggles to find the answers to the worst thing that happened in her life; and the unpleasant but good parts of the story set a quarter of the century prior, seen through the eyes of Libby's mother and brother.

Libby Day's family was brutally slaughtered 25 years ago, and it was Libby's testimony - a confused, clearly coached recollection of a seven-year-old child - that landed her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars for life. Except that now Libby - adult and aimlessly floating through life in a quite unpleasantly pathetic fashion - has reasons to doubt her brother's guilt, and, shaken up from her stupor by a plot contrivance, is on a search to unearth old well-hidden ghosts and uncover what actually happened on a cold January day 25 years ago in a middle-of-nowhere town, Missouri.
Yes, the murders themselves, regardless of how gruesome they may be, are not the disturbing part, not at all. The nastiness comes from the people involved - Libby herself, her maybe-innocent-maybe-not brother, her repulsive good-for-nothing father, and a few more key players of that fateful, as it turned out, day.
Libby's story - unfortunately, it's not that great. Mind it, the actual character of Libby Day is quite interesting. She is pathetic in her almost parasitic existence, and knows her own unlikability very well. But the storyline itself - it does not stand out that much, and Libby's inevitable waking up from her couple of decades of stupor feels a bit contrived. The interactions between Libby and everyone else around her are uninspired. It's mediocre, and gets not even a second thought from me. Bleh.

Where the story shines is Ben Day's sections. The maybe-innocent then fifteen-year-old boy from a poor farm family, confused and dangerously naive on some things, longing to be accepted and be somebody to such an extent that he's dangerously balanced on a sharp edge, willing to passively drift somewhere borne along in the stronger current of those around him, and getting progressively and disturbingly angrier with each page.

It's Ben's downward dangerous slide that kept me awake in the wee hours of the night, turning pages, feeling the empty hollowness deep in my stomach as the events were taking their merciless turn, and making me feel torn and unsettled. Ben Day, dangerous in how lost he is, frightening in how far into darkness his mind slides, surrounded by unhealthy twisted horrible creepy nastiness all around him. His story made me want to have my faith in humanity somehow reaffirmed, preferably in the bright sunshine with a cocktail in my hand, maybe by the poolside - anything to take the nasty darkness away.

Overall, thanks to Ben's story, it was a memorable read. It's far from ideal, yes, but memorable nevertheless. Now I do feel compelled to get my hands on the one remaining Gillian Flynn book I haven't read, and check out her future literary offerings. She has such potential, and I'm looking forward to one day seeing it fully realized.

3.5/5 stars.

Old 'review':

Still unsure about the rating.
Reason: brain still a bit disturbed and shorted out.
Decision to finish this book in the dark apartment at 3 am was, well, questionable.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
September 7, 2016
When person or persons unknown murdered her entire family, seven year old Libby Day managed to escape and fingered her brother Ben as the killer. Now, decades later, she's dysfunctional and nearly penniless, and after meeting some true crime enthusiasts, isn't so sure her brother was the murderer after all. Can Libby discover the truth?

After dodging Gillian Flynn for years in the wake of Gone Girl, I finally caved it when this showed up in one of my daily cheap ebook emails. Gillian Flynn, where have you been all my life?

Dark Places is a mystery but it's one of those mysteries that also happens to be brutal and very well written, like Winter's Bone or something along those lines. Libby Day is a broken adult, having never recovered from her mother and sisters being murdered by her brother. Or were they? Libby cracks open the past like a pinata and takes a look at what falls out: not candy but a lot of ugliness, more like a brood of cockroaches.

Since I live very near nowhere's asshole, rural settings always resonate with me because I understand living miles from everywhere and what could happen in the dark of night. Libby wakes up to the sounds of her family being slaughtered. Not exactly your feel-good read.

I love that instead of some notion of heroism, Libby gets involved in her family's murder because she's nearly run out of money and has no idea how to function as a normal adult. She's a kleptomaniac and has burned every familial bridge she ever trod upon. Lyle and the Kill Club light the spark but it's the lack of money that provides the fuel, at first, anyway.

Gillian Flynn crafts one hell of a mystery yarn but it's her characters that show she's more than just another mystery lover. Ben and Libby are sympathetic figures, despite both being deeply flawed. Still, she makes you understand their motivations, making them seem all too realistic. The parallel structure of the book builds the suspense. I had no idea what actually happened that night until it was pretty much spelled out for me, which I love in a mystery.

There's not much else I want to say for fear of giving something away. Dark Places. Five stars. Read it!
Profile Image for Baba.
3,621 reviews994 followers
November 21, 2021
2021 read: When Libby Day was seven, she provided the damning testimony that put her brother, Ben, in prison for life, for the brutal Satanic(!) ritual murders of their mother and sisters. Today, barely eking out a living, Libby is approached by a 'True Crime' community who are convinced that Ben is innocent of the often in the public eye murders. Having run out of her 'tell-all memoir' money, Libby has no choice but to start investigating the murders at the behest of this club... and very quickly begins to see that every single person involved is an unreliable source and possible suspect or accessory!

This was a nicely balanced read of alternating chapters set in the present going forward, and set in the past a few days before the murders leading up to them; which allowed me to reach the truth not only at the same time as Libby, but also at the same time as the backstory being told. A very likeable read that fully engaged me with an interesting off-beat main protagonists in Libby and her 'True Crime' club ally. Lots of triggering issues are written about in detail, from child abuse through to Satanic rituals, so be warned! It's always nice to see a mega best selling writer who actually can tell a good story from beginning to end; 8 out of 12, Four Star read.
Profile Image for Rincey.
818 reviews4,588 followers
December 31, 2018
Nothing like reading Gillian Flynn during the holidays to make you feel significantly better about your own family

Watch me discuss this book in my December wrap up: https://youtu.be/ReIV4UHlHCI
Profile Image for Mandy.
320 reviews334 followers
February 2, 2016
This is by far my favorite book ever! I started this knowing how much I enjoyed Gone Girl and when I got started with this I couldn't put it down. My soul bonded to this book from the first word. Page turner and an unforgettable ride. A hell of a ride. The movie is just as good and I can rarely say that about books and movies. Ugh, great, spectacular, amazing, eventful, mind-blowing, utterly fantastic. Read this book!!!!!! After reading Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl I knew I had to read her other novels. I AM SO GLAD I DID! Out of her three novels, Dark Places is by far my favorite. This book had that dark element to it that made me want to read and read and read. I had a very hard time putting it down to deal with reality. My mother read it at the same time as I did and she kept calling me throughout the book and telling me about it. We both enjoyed it. I love books like this one, where the main character has a skewed idea of what really happened and then goes on a journey to learn the real fate of that horrible night... and it was indeed a horrible night. I truly felt for this family and the fates they all suffered. I think a part of every one of them died that night. Superb novel!!!! Read and watch movie if you haven't! Both are spectacular.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,082 reviews620 followers
May 4, 2022
I didn’t like Gone Girl, which I though started quite well but went rapidly down hill from half way. So I approached this one with caution. I shouldn’t have worried though, I could tell from the start this was going to be right up my alley. Libby is a lazy kleptomaniac who is living off the inherited life insurance from her hideously slaughtered family – well, who wouldn’t warm to a character like that!

Libby’s brother Ben is the only other survivor of the massacre, and he is in prison having already been convicted of the murders. When we meet out heroine she’s living in a dump and just about to reach the bottom of the money barrel. She’s got a few dollars left and an offer to meet up with a ghoulish collection of Kill Club members who want to pick over her memories of the tragedy, for a fee of $500. She meets with them, hating the experience but is tempted to help one of the members who is intent on delving deeper into the history of the case – as long as he keeps the cash flowing.

The narrative is told primarily first person, through the eyes of Libby, but is interspersed with flash back third party accounts which focus on Libby’s mother and on Ben. As we learn more about both characters the plot thickens. I loved the characterisation and pacing of the story. It wasn’t hurried and the author lingered over details that served to deepen the reader’s knowledge of and appreciation for the characters. I like that kind of focus, it draws me into a story. And I was drawn in. I was enjoying the journey to much to worry about the destination, which is just as well as it turned out to be the best bit.

In Gone Girl, Flynn threw in twist after twist to the point it became akin to a Brian Rix farce. As a result, I lost all belief in that tale. Here, she doesn’t complicate a simple story until we’ve got nine tenths of the way through it, at which point she chucks in an over-engineered and highly improbable ending. It’s as if she’s lost faith in the value of the tale as she was telling it and felt she needed a big finish. Or maybe she had eyes on a big movie deal and thought a surprise ending would seal it. Either way, I feel she’d have been better served to have finished the book in a manner more suited to the feel of the rest of the book. Less would have most definitely have been more.

That said, I still feel this book is well worth reading if only to enjoy the brilliant way Libby is brought to life. My favourite line? Well, it’s delivered as she goes ‘souvenir’ hunting whist visiting a house. As she spots and pockets a thermometer (the items she stole were always a random collection of useless tat) she muses that she’d always wanted one: when I take to my bed it’s good to know whether I’m sick or just lazy. I’ll miss you Libby.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
852 reviews3,883 followers
February 15, 2021

4.5 stars . *breathes deeply* What a ride! Finally a mystery that keeps its appeal intact after the first 50% and does not make me roll my eyes all duh! like in the end. Let's see why, shall we?

Highly recommended if you can stomach the depression. *whispers* In the end, I even rooted for Libby. Don't ask me why. I just did. Nobody's perfect, okay? I said that the characters made me sick, but oh, the sadness. The despair. The misunderstandings. The loneliness. My heart aches from lack of hope.

For more of my reviews, please visit:


This is me being all contradictory : Once a year, Romance week is coming and finds me waving from a distance. As much as I love my fluffy reads, everything Valentine's Day related tends to annoy me greatly. Cynical, me? Nope. Try being born on February 14th and getting an indecent amount of heart shaped cards, gifts, stuff over the years. I can assure you that it does get old. I resist as I can, okay?

Strike one.

Nb. I made my dark week banner with the free label found here from http://lilac-n-lavender.blogspot.fr/2... (lilac and lavender)
Profile Image for Brooke.
538 reviews297 followers
May 30, 2009
Well. I can't really say that I liked this book. None of the characters are likable, including the main character. Libby Day's family was killed by her brother when she was 7. By the time she hits 30, she's still 7 inside, her inner growth stunted by the tragedy. She can barely take care of herself, has never had a job, and suddenly the money that strangers donated out of charity over the years is down to about $900. To replenish her bank account, Libby grudgingly agrees to pimp herself out to a group of people obsessed with the Day murders and with proving that her brother isn't really guilty. Along the way, she starts to have doubts herself and the real story unfolds between her present-day sleuthing and flashbacks to her mother's and brother's point-of-view from the day of the killings.

As I said, no one is likable. I wanted to slap everyone, and I found it impossible to feel any sympathy towards Libby despite her trauma. Gillian Flynn is disturbingly good at creating characters who are beyond messed up and irritating, to the point where you start to wonder what sort of inner darkness she harbors (on the contrary, her Author's Notes always make her sound very well adjusted. At the end of this book, she charmingly promises her mom that she will someday write a book where the mother is neither evil nor killed). Nothing about the dark story that's filled with hopelessness and screw-ups made me feel good about reading it. To use a well-worn phrase, it was almost like a train wreck.

I will hasten to add though, a very well-written train wreck, one with fabulous pacing that rushes along at a breakneck speed and refuses to let you take a breather. It gripped me, kept me guessing, and totally sucked me in with the great voice that Flynn gave the unlikable Libby. I almost felt like I WAS Libby, and it reminded me of the single-minded focus that Tana French's books inspired, where I had to almost physically extract myself from the book once I was finished. I think I liked French's books much better, but I'm very glad to keep coming across such talented women in the mystery genre.

Not a beach book. Not a feel-good story of the year. But damn highly recommended.
Profile Image for Jeanne .
305 reviews
February 14, 2016


Well, unfortunately this wasn't the page turner Gone Girl was for me. The most interesting thing about this book in my opinion was Libby's character. Where Gone Girl started out slow and then got really good, this one started out amazing and then went flat. I do like that Gillian Flynn creates these screwed up characters and I found Libby to be somewhat entertaining. Ms. Flynn isn't known for writing likable characters to be inspired by, but Libby was interesting. Her emotional growth was kind of stunted because of an event in her childhood, and she just sort of drifts through life and survives, but doesn't really live.

I can't really say anything about the story because it's a mystery and I don't want to spoil anything. I felt like a lot of this book was filler, so that the mystery could be drug out until the end. There were so many things that were unnecessarily overly described. At one point there was a whole page dedicated to describing fox tail weeds. This is why for some of this book I was bored out of my mind. While reading this, I seemed to spend a lot of time thinking about my Christmas to do list, or wondering what I should have for lunch.

Overall, it was just Ok. I didn't hate it, but it didn't blow my mind either.
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
315 reviews2,419 followers
August 27, 2017
“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.” Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

Gillian Flynn is the MUTHA of all domestic noir. She's my spirit animal. I feel defensive about her books, I think sometimes she gets a bad rap because her novels are so dark. Her characters unlikeable. Her plots are crazy. True, true, true.

Underneath it all, it is impossible to overlook her talent in characterization. Every book I read in this genre, I cannot help but compare the writing to Flynn's.

She can craft a character out of thin air that is as real to a reader as the book they are holding. She doesn't just tell about a character, she SHOWS us characters. The mannerisms, the habits, the insecurities, the tics and tells of their face. How they walk, talk, eat, drink, drive a car. As a reader, you are whisked into her novels for the plot and get so much more in return. My favorite kind of book!

Libby Day, our flawed protagonist, is one carefully constructed character. She is the sole survivor of a Kansas massacre. Final Girls, anyone? The story begins 25 years after the murders and Libby Day is being dragged into resolving the mystery by a group of true crime aficionados (even though she fingered her own brother as the killer). The setting is rural, impoverished America; a stark contrast with most of the urban London-ish settings in this genre.

This is my least favorite of Flynn's books, mainly because the plot is too crazy and contrived even for me. However, the writing is so first rate, I gladly give it full 5 stars.
Profile Image for EmBibliophile.
534 reviews1,362 followers
January 18, 2022
3.5 stars

I love Gillian Flynn. I love her creepy characters, disgusting stories, and scary writing. This might be not be my favorite book by her, but it was still an enjoyable creepy book to read.

As all of her books it got that slow beginning, a good disturbing mystery, and messed up unlikable characters that always make me feel so uncomfortable. However, this one was really slow and I didn’t like the ending at all. After all of that, it was just so..underwhelming. So meh. So “that’s it?”
Profile Image for Chantal .
343 reviews832 followers
April 28, 2016
This book was insaaaaane. But so so good. Dark Places was my first Gillian Flynn book (though I have seen the Gone Girl movie) but I fully plan on picking up her other books now.

It’s the kind of novel that makes you question what on earth we humans can come up with. I kept wondering what was going on in Gyllian Flynn’s head. How does she think of these things?

Dark Places is vile, macabre and gruesome. The author doesn’t hold back, instead she seemingly bombards you with everything ugly that is out there. Vivid descriptions of bloody crime scenes, physical and psychological horrors, the most unlikable characters you can imagine. She gives us a glimpse into the mind-set of some truly twisted and messed up people who all carry around their own little dirty secrets.
The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty - we all have it.

But with the book’s superb writing style and strong narrative, it all somehow works. The story kept me engaged all the way through and I found myself constantly thinking of the book when I wasn’t reading, wondering who the culprit was.

The story is told from three different POVs: From Libby Day in the present and from Ben and Patty Day in 1985. It was a day in the year of 1985 when Ben – Libby’s older brother – allegedly murdered three members of his own family – including his mother, Patty, and two of his younger sisters – in cold blood. Only Libby somehow escaped the massacre. Libby’s testimony against Ben condemns him to a lifelong imprisonment. Now, after having lived off donations her entire life, Libby’s finances run out and she has to find a new way to earn enough money to survive. In an attempt to get the money without having to work, Libby makes an appearance at the “Kill Club”, a secret society obsessed with solving crimes. She soon realizes however, that everyone in the club believes Ben innocent and her testimony to be false. At first, she dismisses these theories as fanatical talk, but as more and more information is presented to her, Libby realizes that maybe things aren’t simple as she thought them to be.

Dark Places is not a book I would necessarily call “enjoyable”. At times it is frightening and difficult to read: the author drags you into the story with the intrigue of the killings while simultaneously pushing you away with her deeply flawed characters. While reading I actually developed some scarily aggressive thoughts towards certain (most) characters. At times I got so angry I wanted to jump into the book and strangle them with my bare hands. Punch them in the face. Scratch out their eyes. I am NOT a violent person but look at what this book has done to me *shudders*. But as negative as these feelings were, I kind of loved it. I felt passionate about this book, which is something I’ve been missing from my last couple of reads.

Let’s take a closer look at our protagonist, Libby Day. She is the epitome of a flawed character. Not quite an anti-hero, but definitely not a hero either, Libby is selfish, violent, lazy and anti-social, yet you somehow remain on her side and root for her.
I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.

You want her to succeed, despite the fact that she does some horrendous things. Do you forgive her for it? Not really, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t like Libby, but I understood her and that was enough.
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.

Without a character like Libby that makes you care about the outcome of the story and gets you involved on an emotional level, the story wouldn’t be what it is now. The mystery alone – though well-paced and suspenseful – wasn’t enough for me to keep reading. It was the characters that made me want to keep going. The “who did it” part of the novel is only half as interesting as the “how did it come to that”. In some ways, everyone is a little bit guilty and realizing that and seeing Libby come to terms with it was fascinating.

Then we have our other main character, Ben Day. Seeing how his thoughts turned darker and darker as the story went along was a little scary. It makes the reader constantly question if he could truly be the murderer.
Sometimes he felt like he'd been gone his whole life--in exile, away from the place he was supposed to be, and that, soldier-like, he was pining to be returned. Homesick for a place he'd never been.

Plot and writing wise this book was also excellent. Gillian Flynn has some serious talent when it comes to writing unpredictable mysteries. She constantly kept me on my toes, giving me just enough information to keep me guessing and then be mislead. The alternating points of view were perhaps the biggest factor in making this story smooth and exciting throughout. The author certainly knows how to switch focus just in time to create the strongest sense of anticipation.

My main criticism of the novel is that at times I felt the story was a little too dragged out and would have been even better if it was slightly shorter. I also questioned the necessity of having certain elements in the story. However, I obviously still greatly enjoyed the story.

This is not a book for everyone; you need a certain taste for the dark and despicable to enjoy this story. Graphic descriptions violence, underage sex and molestation are all present. But if these things don’t bother you, then you should most definitely give this book a try.
Profile Image for A Mac.
816 reviews140 followers
July 3, 2023
Actual Rating 3.5

Libby is the sole survivor of the night her older brother brutally slaughtered the rest of her family. Years later, her life changes again when she finds out that the money she’s been living off of is close to drying up. When she is contacted by an odd murder fan-group who is interested in having her as a special guest, she decides to take them up on their offer with the hope of making some money. But when they aggressively confront her about the events of that night, her testimony, and her conclusions, she finds her entire worldview turned on its head. Desperate for both money and answers, Libby decides to try to find the truth of what actually happened that night, once and for all.

This story is told through dual timelines, one following Libby in the present day and the other following the background of the family and the day of the murders in 1985. I really liked how well the author released information throughout the story even with the slower beginning. There were enough moving parts, red herrings, and connections, to keep the story moving and interesting. The overall tone of the book was rather depressing and dark, which added to the atmosphere and immersion of the story.

I also enjoyed how character-driven this mystery is. The author did a great job writing an unlikeable protagonist, and Libby’s representation as an adult was interesting. The way the family was portrayed in the 1980s was realistic and well written, making both timelines immersive and engaging.

This character-driven mystery is perfect if you’re in the mood for a darker read with unlikeable characters and a somewhat depressing atmosphere.
Profile Image for Reading Corner.
88 reviews109 followers
March 5, 2016
Dark Places is a masterpiece, composed of troubled characters,disturbing deeds and buried secrets.For me, it wasn't as good as Gone Girl or Sharp Objects but it still managed to be a fantastic mystery, full of suspense and tragedy.Gillian Flynn takes a similar route with her characters as Libby Day is a deeply troubled individual, seeking the truth behind her family's murder.She uncovers numerous shocking truths which shape this novel into a true page-turner.

Libby Day is an incredibly complex character who I found immediately interesting.Her history hooks you straight away and leaves you with a serious sense of unease.Her brother, Ben Day is another compelling character and he shares a narrative in this story with Libby and their mother, Patty.

The story is told by consecutively switching between these three from the past and present.This adds a unique,gripping touch which makes you eager to read on to find out what happens.I couldn't pick a favourite narrative as I enjoyed them all equally as the insight into different perspectives is a thrilling aspect of the story.

The plot is brilliantly constructed with so many lingering questions that make you invest more thought into the story and keeps you guessing.The mystery behind the murders and Ben just keeps unraveling, transpiring into something much more unpredictable.

I loved the unpredictability Gillian Flynn manages to weave into her stories and she successfully does it here again.The book is so great as it thrives in so many areas which all come together to sculpt this gem.I did prefer the stories and mysteries in her other books but Dark Places is not a disappointment.I may have preferred her other books but I still love this one as it has so many strengths that flourish throughout the book.
Profile Image for Clumsy Storyteller .
350 reviews726 followers
February 28, 2017
Disturbing /heartbreaking /Perfect/thriller/mystery/suspense novel i loved the twist i really didn't see that one coming, The main character, Libby was a damaged soul, 3 of her family members were killed by her brother Ben (that's what the author wants you to think :p) i didn't like Libby very much she's a slob lonely woman, she had a rough start in life but that's not an excuse for sitting around and waiting for people to support her financially, it was annoying but she had her reasons, her brother "Ben" was a likeable character, i dont agree with his life choices but i understand.

“The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty - we all have it.”

by the end of this book i cried like a baby while reading the letter from their mother broke my heart

the movie is even better jesus ! Charlize theron did an amazing job this one is definitely on my re-reading shelf

Profile Image for Sandra.
233 reviews54 followers
August 30, 2019
Dark Places is Gillian Flynn’s second novel.
Libby Day is 31 years old and her funds are running low!
Her mother and two sisters were massacred when she was 7 years old . Since the tragedy she has been living on the donations given to her by well-wishers. She has never had a job, she is a loner and she feels deeply embittered by new tragedies that take people’s donations away from her......
As a result of Libby’s testimony, her 15 year old brother, Ben, was imprisoned for the crimes. He has been inside for the last 25 years.
To raise funds Libby reluctantly accepts an invitation from the Kill Club, a group obsessed with true crimes. They believe Ben is innocent and against her better judgement she begins to help them investigate the crime further.
This book is true to it name and is a dark read. Description of life in small town Midwest is sharp and real. It was desperately sad to read about the poverty of the family and the hardship of running a small holding, prior to the murders.
The chapters flow well, moving from current day Libby and then the hours leading up to the murders, seen through the eyes of her family members.
An enjoyable thriller and a satisfying ending.
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