Title: Dark Places
Author: Gilllian Flynn
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary, Thriller
I watched Gone Girl last year. And it was followed by several minutes of dumbfoundedness (I invented that word only now), it was nothing like the mysteries I had seen before. Gone Girl is based on a book by Gillian Flyn. I am one of those people who always finds the book better than the movie. Since I missed out on that book, I wasn’t going to ruin this one for me. So the DVD starring Chalize Theron for Dark Places would have to wait, I absolutely had to read this book first. And was I in for a psychological roller-coaster ride!
Libby Day is a survivor of a grotesque massacre that took away her mother and two sisters. Evidence pointed at her brother Ben and Libby testified against him too. Ben is sent off to jail and Libby continues on with her miserable life. After 24 years Libby runs out of money and is compelled to revisit the case because Kill Club (a group of people that have interests in exploring real-life murder cases) is willing to finance it. As Libby re-investigates the case, she uncovers many facts that point at Ben’s innocence.
Flynn’s writing is scary, the kind of scary that makes you want to keep turning pages to find out what happens next. Flynn tells the story from three perspectives: Patty Day is struggling mother of four, Ben is a troubled teenager with probably the darkest mind and Patty is now an adult whose present has been brutally marked by the past. The pages hop from present to the past, whilst revealing more details about the day of the massacre. And after about one tenth of the book is left there is a major plot twist, that made me want to jump into the pages and grab the culprit by the neck.
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.
It is amazing really how none of the characters she paints are likable, not even Libby the protagonist. She is not the standard hero who has successfully recovered unscathed from her brutal past she is selfish, lonely and very much disturbed. Characters aren’t likeable but are unforgettable. It is Flynn’s writing style and the storytelling make the book itself is an absolute gem of a thriller!
One thing that is common in Flynn’s works is how the her female characters are the complete opposite of damsel in distress and the girl-next-door. She shows us a world where women too if given power and certain circumstances are capable of harm and unspeakable cruelty. That is not something to be proud of but it is something real, it is something that speaks volumes for equality and it is something human.
The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty – we all have it.
I would recommend this page-turner for anyone who can stomach violence, troubled characters and a bit of hopelessness (make sure your life outside the book is all rainbows and sunshine). This book will not give-away the plot and keep the reader hooked till the very end. I’m all set to watch the movie now, some great reviews for that one as well!