7 September 2017

Review: DARK PLACES, Gillian Flynn

Synopsis (publisher)

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben.

Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

My take

Libby Day's life has been a disaster - at 7 years of age she testified that her brother Ben, then 15, had killed her mother and and two sisters. The murders were horrific and Libby, the youngest of the family, was left traumatised. She first of all lived with her aunt and then in foster homes. Ben went prison for life and has been there for 25 years. Libby, haunted by the possibility that she was wrong in her testimony, has never wanted to visit him.

When Libby is contacted by Lyle from the Kill Club, she is not sure what he wants. She agrees to visit the club and finds that many of its members think that Ben was innocent of the crimes and certainly of the other things that Ben was accused of. To her own horror, she finds that she wants to know the truth, and paid by money provided by members of the Kill Club agrees to visit Ben in Gaol and then to track down people who might know what actually happened.

There is a lot of tension generated in the book as we read on two time frames: the present mainly through Libby's eyes, and a chronology of what happened in the last days and hours before the murders.

In places this is a very noir read, a truly nasty picture of what growing up in an impoverished family in Kansas in the mid 1980s was like. This book did remind me of Truman Capote's IN COLD BLOOD, also set in Kansas, and left me wondering if it was based on a true story. I'm still wondering: the Kill Club certainly exists. The novel also reminded me of SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE which I read a month or so back.

From Wikipedia: The novel deals with class issues in rural America, intense poverty and the Satanic cult hysteria that swept the United States in the 1980s. Dark Places was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award and won the Dark Scribe Magazine Black Quill Award for Dark Genre Novel of the Year. It was also listed on the New York Times Best Seller List for hardcover fiction for two consecutive weeks. A film adaptation of the novel was released on August 7, 2015.

My Rating: 4.5

I've also read

1 comment:

Gerard Saylor said...

I thought the novel was pretty good. The Satanic scare angle was interesting.

I used to live near the area where the author out her fake towns and locations. My wife disliked the book for those same reasons, "Salina doesn't have any suburb!"


Blog Widget by LinkWithin