Book Review | Dark Places

Monday, February 16, 2015



Last month I finally got around to reading Gillian Flynn's other two books. This past summer I read her novel Gone Girl and absolutely loved it, then in the fall I geared up to watch the film adaption. Now months later I have completed both Sharp Objects and Dark Places, which I am here to review today.

Having thoroughly enjoyed Gone Girl I had pretty high expectations for Flynn's other novels, sadly I was let down almost immediately. More on that in a minute. Dark Places is about murder mystery that took place almost 24 years ago in which Libby Day's, our protagonist, family was brutally murdered. At the time Libby, at the young impressionable age of seven, was a 100% certain that the person who brutally murdered her family was non-other than her own flesh and blood; her older brother Ben Day. Since then Libby has been drifting in and out of her life without a purpose. Now nearing the 24th anniversary of her family's massacre Libby is contacted by a group of fanatics who are convinced that Ben is innocent. After meeting with the group Libby begins to question everything she thought she knew about that night and is now determine to solve the mystery that has trailed her all her life once and for all; even if that means she wrongfully imprisoned the only family she has left. On her quest for answers she soon finds out that everyone had something to hide that night and that the truth won't come easily.

I'm so torn with this book I honestly don't know if I liked it or thought it was crap. All I do know is that I thought it was a hell of a lot better than Sharp Objects. Although it wasn't exactly a page turner, I love that Flynn isn't afraid to push the envelope with her writing. She's a big fan of writing about horrible people doing horrible things, particularly horrible women doing horrible things. I'm not sure if it's an empowerment thing, you know having these fictional women acting in such a way that is dominate over the men in these stories. Flynn's female characters lie, they kill, they manipulate and her male characters are depicted as losers who lack a back bone let alone common sense. And in all honesty I love that. I love that she willing to write about these disgusting shady characters even if that means there are no likeable character left in the whole novel. It keeps the reader on their toes which is important for a good murder mystery.

On the other hand since there are no likeable characters in this novel, much like Sharp Objects,  I found some parts hard to get through and found myself reading for the sake of finding out who the killer is. Thankfully this story is told in multiple perspectives which makes it easier to get through those wary chapters. I particularly liked reading in the perspective of Libby's mother and her brother as they both told a different side to what happened on the day of the massacre. It's sort of like our own little in, since as the reader we're learning about  events that took place 24 years ago that Libby herself doesn't know about. I have to say that I was no way prepared for the plot twist and although I had my own suspicions I wasn't remotely prepared to watch it unfold in such detail. Keep in mind that I said that there isn't a likeable sole in this novel, that stands true straight till the end. 

All in all I guess it was okay, I didn't hate it, but it didn't blow me away either. But what do you guys think? Do you have to find characters somewhat likeable in order to enjoy a novel? Let me know what you think in the comments.