I read Gone Girl last year like the rest of the country and enjoyed it. So when Christine sent me Dark Places as part a Halloween swap Ana and I did, I was looking forward to reading it. I went to Tennessee awhile back I brought it for the plane. And wow it was the PERFECT plane book, I did not want to put it down it sucked me in immediately.
I think Dark Places felt more compelling to me because it was about an old case from the past...the sort of situation where it was solved but was it really solved??? And it wasn't just any murder, it was a murder in a farm house with an axe!! And Satan worship was involved!! I mean seriously, you can't get any more intriguing than that. So Libby started out immediately as an extremely interesting protagonist because she was just six years old when the rest of her family was hacked to death and she was the only survivor. And the narrative that was immediately adopted was that her brother was guilty. I mean...wow what a tough way to start out life!
But when the book opens, Libby is in her late twenties and all the sympathy money she got over the years for being the sole survivor of such a terrible crime is almost gone which means she needs to find a new source of income. Enter: The Kill Club. This is a group of people who are kind of...fans of past crimes? And they believe the wrong person, Libby's brother, Ben was convicted. They are willing to pay her to speak to them and more.
Libby starts to question everything she knows about what happened that night and uncovers realities long buried.
Dark Places uses multiple narratives like Gone Girl did..Libby's present, first person point of view and then the chapters that go back to the past alternate between her mother and brother recreating that one fateful day. And I loved it.
One of the things I loved about Dark Places is the economy of the story telling. You know how in mysteries there are all these red herrings and you get tired of them? Well, in Dark Places it's more like all the little stray pieces of the puzzle that Libby chases actually build to one whole. They all work in relationship to each other--to understanding the truth of what happened. Which I really loved. I also liked that even though everything might not be exactly what it seems it doesn't mean there isn't some essential truth to it. Which raises all kinds of interesting thoughts about justice to me.
As you can expect from a Gillian Flynn novel, (I think--still need to read Sharp Objects!)there's all kinds of gender stuff in here. There's apparently a battle always raging about whether or not she's a misogynist. Her female leads are not nice palatable characters (though Libby sort of was more than Amy) that conform to traditional expectations for women. Flynn has said she likes to explore female violence in her books because it gets ignored so often. Also, there's lots of sex without it being sexy and cursing and violence. This is a gritty book.
Oh! And the Satan worship stuff. Since the crime against Libby's family happened in the 80's this fits in perfectly. Anyone else grow up in an evangelical family where you heard tons of stuff about the devil and demons when you were growing up? Lol, I remember once I was out with my friend and we had taken a drive to the woods and we were just having a nice time enjoying the nature when suddenly I realized it was Halloween and I got freaked out we were going to be kidnapped for a devil worshipers sacrifice. Lololol. Anyway, it just rang true for the times especially in Kansas!
The book is inspired by In Cold Blood, I guess, which I've never read, but now I want to! Have any of you read it?
As I was writing this, I was thinking about how all her books are being made into movies. And..like I wonder how that will work? Like all the mystery is gone! Hopefully, they'll still be good. I'm also super curious about her YA novel.