Libby Day was just seven years old when her older brother massacred her family while she hid in a cupboard. Her evidence helped put him away. Ever since then she has been drifting, surviving for over 20 years on the proceeds of the 'Libby Day fund'. But now the money is running out and Libby is desperate.
When she is offered $500 to do a guest appearance, she feels she has to accept. But this is no ordinary gathering. The Kill Club is a group of true-crime obsessives who share information on notorious murders, and they think her brother Ben is innocent. Ben was a social misfit, ground down by the small-town farming community in which he lived. But he did have a girlfriend - a brooding heavy metal fan called Diondra. Through her, Ben became involved with drugs and the dark arts. When the town suddenly turned against him, his thoughts turned black. But was he capable of murder?
Libby must delve into her family's past to uncover the truth - no matter how painful.
©2009 Gillian Flynn (P)2009 AudioGo Ltd
Writer, theatre reviewer, geek
The intriguing tale of how the sole survivor of a brutal attack on her family – presumed to have been perpetrated by her brother, who is serving a life sentence for the crime – is drawn into finding out the truth. The "heroine", Libby Day, is not driven by a higher moral purpose, but self-interest: the charity fund set up for her as a little girl has run dry, the book she wrote about her life didn't sell – so she is reduced to accepting money from a group of true crime fans who are convinced her brother is inncoent.
Told with a series of flashbacks, Flynn paints a picture of a family that was barely struggling to survive financially. It's a story that's less of a thriller than I was expecting, but is enjoyable as a slice of life with a terrible secret at its heart.
As the flashbacks – and Libby's investigations – draw ever closer to what really happened, you can't help but feel for all the Day family, no matter who the perpetrator will eventually be revealed to be. And considering that Libby Day starts out as far from a likeable character, that's some achievement.
Lorelei King always works hard to distinguish each character within the story. This is no exception: she is the twelve-year-old girl with ink from a chewed pen leaking out of her mouth, just as much as she is the wayward father found living in an abandoned water tank. Her narration brings the characters to life, and draws you in to life on the poverty line.
I thought it was really good. I'm a Flynn fan. She writes the sardonic, bitter, witty thoughts of the outsider, the dangerous screw loose loner, the hopeless case so well. In Dark Places, Flynn creates a unique set of characters and will suck you into a dark, twisted, gloomy perspective for the duration of the read. The book is not depressing though, because of the dark humor and also, because of the little glimmers of hope that shine through for the characters, and because of the beautifully rendered characters of the Mother and the Aunt, whose desperation shines through with humanity and warmth.. There was a realness and a compassion to the telling of their story, all in flashback, that stayed with me and gave me real insight into what it's like to be a really poor struggling mother. I won't really tell you what the book is about, the blurb will tell you that, but it's good, it's really good.
Warning: There is a scene with some cows that is pretty bad. I listened to it and had to put down the audio book for a few weeks. It's the furthest Flynn has gone, I think, into proper gruesomeness. Normally she keeps the reader at a safe distance from that kinda thing. Just a warning, you will see it coming from the character's actions. If your squeamish about terrible animal cruelty...do yourself a favor and skip that bit.
Apart from the story itself, the writing is beautiful, the construction of secondary characters is flawless, as is the sequencing of how the nights events are revealed to us. She really is very good at what she does. However, for those of you unfamiliar with Flynn, hearts and flowers and candy it is not. It is dark and twisted and sardonic. Be prepared.
I needed to concentrate as the story flips back and forth between a brutal attack killing all but one of a family in 1985 and "now" narrated by the survivor Libby Day as she tries to reveal the truth about what actually happened compared with the outcome of the police investigation and court case that found her brother guilty. Gradually anomalies emerge as to whether or not he committed the murders as others also had a motive. And it is gradually: this is not a fast-paced page-turner of a book. Instead one in drawn into a web of digressions that flesh out the characters. Nobody, except perhaps the murder victims, is sympathetically depicted. At times there are some pretty gruesome descriptions that haunt the mind but mostly it is a complex analysis of interactions among troubled and dysfunctional people entangled in the aftermath of a terrible crime.
The final denouement was a complete surprise to me as there didn't appear to be clues laid in the narrative. This didn't matter as the strength of the book is the gradual revelations about the characters brought vividly to life as the story unfolds and one is led on false trails as to who might be guilty. Not an easy listen but a memorable one.
Lorelei King is one of the best audio book narrators and she does a grand job with this story.
I'm an avid reader and my choice of books is pretty eclectic. The heavier stuff I still read, but I love audible books for lighter stuff!
Like many others I came to this book after 'Gone Girl', and although this book is by no means as complex and convoluted it is still very good indeed. Libby Day is an exploitative character whom I really rather disliked at the beginning (as I'm sure is the intention) but I gradually came round as I began to understand the reasons why she is the way she is, and found her more and more likeable as the book progressed. Some memorable co-characters added extra life to the plot and kept me eager to listen whenever I could.
I must admit an unreasonable prejudice I had against the narrator meant that I hesitated some time before downloading this book. A while back I listened to a book that I really didn't like and found her accent annoying, thus in my mind she was associated with a negative experience. I'm glad I gave her another chance, because she really read 'Dark Places' extremely well.
Retired Psychologist Love reading/audiobooks, travelling, animals Favourite saying The fact that you believe something does not make it true
This is a powerfully written murder mystery in keeping with Gillian Flynn's other two books. Positively gruesome at times and always dark, it is not for the faint hearted. None of the characters are particularly likeable, but they seem very real and are understandable (insofar as how they have become what they have become). Lorelei King's narration was perfect and never distracted for a moment (a common problem with audio books).
I loved this book. Having listened to Gone Girl and loved that (although the ending was irritating) I was delighted to find another Gillian Flynn on Audible. Another psychological thriller, I found this one even more gripping than Gone Girl and could not 'put it down'. The narrator, Lorelei King, did a brilliant job of giving us sulky, difficult, traumatised Libby who gradually transformed into someone who 'done good' and as her character matured as she unravelled what had happened the night most of her family were murdered 25 years earlier so did Ms King's 'Libby voice'. What I love about Flynn is that she meticulously plans her stories so that every detail is pertinent without you realising it. Everything pedestrian is a vital clue - very clever. One more of hers to read so I hope she hurries up and writes more!
Although a very well written book, I found it far too gory and detailed. The story was very dark which I was expecting to a degree, but it certainly made me flinch once or twice and I don't have a soft stomach!
Lorelei King excellently narrated the book - she managed to give the characters a real sense of personality which matched the tone of the book brilliantly.
It's tricky to describe without giving too much away.. but it would more than likely be the sacrifice, or perhaps not cut it away but softened the description slightly. I appreciate though that it was the level of detail which made the horrific crimes in the book all the more abhorrent.
I am 35 year old who loves writing & reading and listening to anything! But I do adore the classics, crime fiction and anything paranormal.
This book is a very engaging listen, with a lead character you will either love or hate and a wonderful twisting plot that takes you back in time to relive the tragic day that changes so many of the characters lives. I loved the honesty of Libby Day even though at times you would just feel better if you hated her, but the truth is this wonderfully written book will bring out mixed emotions with many of the characters and not all of them good.
Gillian flynn seems to get the emotions and emotional responses of people reading very well indeed and as a writer that is not an easy thing to do.
The narration is great and Ms King always seems to get it just right, she is an excellent voice actress and I have never heard a bad performance from her.
Please take the time to read or listen to this great work of fiction as it will keep you guessing until the very end. x
Having loved Gone Girl I thought this would be a disappointment but I was wrong. It is different and maybe not quite as obsessive and compelling but it gently catches you and you just want more. The Characters are wonderfully unlovable and the pace is near perfect.
hard to believe at times yet it becomes believable as the story draws you in.
A really good read and really requires you to pay attention.
I don't think this is a story I would listen to again and it builds up to who did it and once you know I'm not sure it would be the same again
The characters and the flashbacks to the night of the massacre
I haven;t listened to any other books she has read but thoroughly enjoyed this
It was so sad really, the way the story turned out made you realise the harsh choices people have to make when under pressure
"Not for the fainthearted!"
Dark Places is the story of Libby Day who, in 1985, helped a jury convict her 15 year-old brother Ben for the brutal murder of her mother and sisters. Now, 25 years later, Ben remains in prison and the money in Libby's trust fund is gone. Unwilling to find a job, Libby accepts an offer from a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. The Kill Society offer to pay Libby to interview Ben and others about the massacre and they are eager to buy family mementos from her.
The story unfolds in alternating chapters between Libby in the present and her family in the hours leading up to the murders. The characters are vivid and believable though not very likable.The chapters play off each other perfectly exposing layer upon layer of ugliness.Gillian Flynn has had the courage to depict the long term damage and consequences of a brutal murder. She almost dares the reader to look away.
This novel succeeds on so many levels. It made me think about what happens to the survivors in the headlines or on the news. In the media limelight they are showered with sympathy, years later they are all but forgotten.
Dark Places is a masterpiece of cold blooded horror. It is not for the squeamish. There is graphic violence to humans and animals. There is sexual content and language that some may find offensive.
If you're looking for a dark (really dark!) mystery that is well crafted and competently narrated, then this is the book for you. I actually enjoyed it more than Gone Girl.
"read all three books and im really a fan"
Yes absolutely! Well written story and well read.
When she finally found diondra.
Dianne,I liked how her voice changed it suits the character.
party's sacrifice for her children.
Great read and great audio. I recommend reading all gillian flynn's books. Love her,looking forward to her next book.
"Great story and performance - excellent writing."
Gillian Flynn is an excellent writer - I love her turns of phrase and unique imagery, so I could read anything she writes. This ending was more predictable than Gone Girl but I still enjoyed the ride. The performance was outstanding, my favourite on Audible so far. I was desperate to keep listening (couldn't 'put it down') so would highly recommend this.
A bravely drawn anti-hero -- unconventional, anti-social, on the margins. She hooked me immediately and I was happily swept along as the layers of the past were peeled away to reveal an extremely satisfying conclusion.
If I had known about the chapter describing in detail the animal cruelty I would never have started this book. It was completely unnecessary to describe in such gory detail the suffering of the animal. I wanted to hear it in case the story progressed but had to skip over it because I just didn't want that in my head. Hard to know but I don't think it made much difference to the story. It was quite disgusting.
It is an interesting story. I will listen to the rest to hopefully get some resolution to the story.
amazing narrator, giving each character their own voice and personality.
love the storyline and how the story is being put together
"Loved it! 💕"
I never thought I would be a fan of this genre until I read/listened to this. If you're into suspense/thriller type plots, then give this one a shot.
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