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Dark Places: A Novel Paperback – May 4 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 Reprint edition (May 4 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307341577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307341570
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description



Named one of the Best Books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly

A Weekend TODAY “Top Summer Read”

The New Yorker's Reviewers' Favorite from 2009

A 2009 Favorite Fiction Pick by The Chicago Tribune

“[A] nerve-fraying thriller.”
The New York Times

“Flynn’s well-paced story deftly shows the fallibility of memory and the lies a child tells herself to get through a trauma.”
The New Yorker

“Gillian Flynn coolly demolished the notion that little girls are made of sugar and spice in Sharp Objects, her sensuous and chilling first thriller. In DARK PLACES, her equally sensuous and chilling follow-up, Flynn…has conjured up a whole new crew of feral and troubled young females….[A] propulsive and twisty mystery.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Flynn follows her deliciously creepy Sharp Objects with another dark tale . . . The story, alternating between the 1985 murders and the present, has a tense momentum that works beautifully. And when the truth emerges, it’s so macabre not even twisted little Libby Day could see it coming.”
People (4 stars)

“Crackles with peevish energy and corrosive wit.”
Dallas Morning News

“A riveting tale of true horror by a writer who has all the gifts to pull it off.”
Chicago Tribune

"In her first psychological thriller, Sharp Objects, Flynn created a world unsparingly grim and nasty (the heroine carves words into her own flesh) written with irresistibly mordant humor. The sleuth in her equally disturbing and original second novel is Libby Day....It's Flynn's gift that she can make a caustic, self-loathing, unpleasant protagonist someone you come to root for.”
New York Magazine

“[A] gripping thriller.”

"Gillian Flynn is the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre.”
–Stephen King

“Another winner!”
Harlan Coben

“Gillian Flynn’s writing is compulsively good. I would rather read her than just about any other crime writer.”
Kate Atkinson

“Dark Places grips you from the first page and doesn't let go.”
Karin Slaughter

“With her blistering debut Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn hit the ground running. Dark Places demonstrates that was no fluke.”
Val McDermid

Dark Places' Libby Day may seem unpleasant company at first–she's humoring those with morbid curiosities about her family's murders in order to get money out of them–but her steely nature and sharp tongue are compelling. 'I have a meanness inside me,'she says, 'real as an organ.'Yes she does, and by the end of this pitch-black novel, after we've loosened our grip on its cover and started breathing deeply again, we're glad Flynn decided to share it.”
Jessa Crispin, NPR.org

“Flynn returns to the front ranks of emerging thriller writers with her aptly titled new novel . . . Those who prefer their literary bones with a little bloody meat will be riveted.”
Portland Oregonian

“Gillian Flynn may turn out to be a more gothic John Irving for the 21st century, a writer who uses both a surgeon's scalpel and a set of rusty harrow discs to rip the pretty face off middle America.”
San Jose Mercury News

“The world of this novel is all underside, all hard flinch, and Flynn’s razor-sharp prose intensifies this effect as she knuckles in on every sentence. . . . The slick plotting in DARK PLACES will gratify the lover of a good thriller–but so, too, will Flynn’s prose, which is ferocious and unrelenting and pure pleasure from word one.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Gillian Flynn’s second novel, DARK PLACES, proves that her first – Sharp Objects – was no fluke. . . . tough, surprising crime fiction that dips its toes in the deeper waters of literary fiction.”
Chicago Sun-Times

"Flynn fully inhabits Libby—a damaged woman whose world has resided entirely in her own head for the majority of her life and who is prone to dark metaphors: 'Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.' Half the fun of DARK PLACES is Libby’s swampy psychology, which Flynn leads us through without the benefit of hip waders.”
Time Out Chicago

“Clever, engrossing and disturbing….[DARK PLACES] should cement [Flynn’s] place in the great authors of crime fiction.”

“[D]eliciously creepy...Flynn follows 250-some pages of masterful plotting and character development with a speedway pileup of pulse-pounding revelations.”
Chicago Reader

“A genuinely shocking denouement.”
Romantic Times

“Sardonic, riveting . . . Like Kate Atkinson, Flynn has figured out how to fuse the believable characters, silken prose and complex moral vision of literary fiction to the structure of a crime story. . . . You can sense trouble coming like a storm moving over the prairie, but can't quite detect its shape.”
Laura Miller, Salon.com

“These characters are fully realized—so true they could step off the page….hints of what truly happened to the Day family feel painfully, teasingly paced as they forge an irresistible trail to the truth….Could. Not. Stop. Reading.”

“Libby’s voice is a pitch-perfect blend of surliness and emotionally charged imagery. . . . The Kansas in these pages is a bleak, deterministic place where bad blood and lies generate horrifically unintended consequences. Though there’s little redemption here, Flynn manages to unearth the humanity buried beneath the squalor.”

“Set in the bleak Midwest of America, this evocation of small-town life and dysfunctional people is every bit as horribly fascinating as Capote’s journalistic retelling of a real family massacre, In Cold Blood, which it eerily resembles. This is only Flynn’ s second crime novel–her debut was the award-winning Sharp Objects–and demonstrates even more forcibly her precocious writing ability and talent for the macabre.”
Daily Mail (UK)

“Flynn’s second novel is a wonderful evocation of drab small-town life. The time-split narrative works superbly and the atmosphere is eerily macabre—Dark Places is even better than the author’s award-winning Sharp Objects.”
The Guardian (UK)

“A gritty, riveting thriller with a one-of-a-kind, tart-tongued heroine.”
Booklist, starred review

“Flynn’s second crime thriller tops her impressive debut, Sharp Objects…When the truth emerges, it’s so twisted that even the most astute readers won’t have predicted it.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The sole survivor of a family massacre is pushed into revisiting a past she’d much rather leave alone, in Flynn’s scorching follow-up to Sharp Objects . . . Flynn intercuts Libby’s venomous detective work with flashbacks to the fatal day 24 years ago so expertly that as they both hurtle toward unspeakable revelations, you won’t know which one you’re more impatient to finish. . . . every sentence crackles with enough baleful energy to fuel a whole town through the coldest Kansas winter.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Once in a while a book comes along that puts a new spin on an old idea. More than 40 years ago, Truman Capote took readers inside the Clutter farmhouse in Holcomb, KS, to show them what it was like to walk in a killer's shoes. Flynn takes modern readers back to Kansas to explore the fictional 1985 Day family massacre from the perspective of a survivor as well as the suspects. . . . tight plotting and engaging characters.”
Library Journal

About the Author

GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the runaway hit Gone Girl, an international sensation that has spent more than seventy-five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her work has been published in forty languages. Gone Girl is soon to be a major motion picture from Twentieth Century Fox. Flynn’s previous novels, Dark Places and Dagger Award winner Sharp Objects, were also New York Times bestsellers. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, she lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

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By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on Sept. 18 2009
Format: Hardcover
Reason for Reading: The plot sounded like this would be the perfect read for me, but I haven't read her first book which has been widely praised.

Comments: The book first opens with a woman, Libby, young thirties, only survivor of her family's brutal slaying, her mother and two older sisters, when she was seven years old. Her brother, Ben, fifteen at the time, was convicted and sentenced to life for the murders. Libby has now used up the "fund" that accumulated for her through her childhood as people donated to her plight. Now a mixed-up woman with no means of support, and no real desire to work, she is approached by a fan club of true crime fanatics who will pay her to get in touch with people who have first hand information about the crime and also are willing to buy any 'memorabilia' she may have. Libby figures this is better than working but when she attends her first convention of this underground club she is startled when she realizes they all have ideas as to who the real killer is, no one believes Ben is guilty, but she was there, she knows he is, doesn't she?

Told from several different viewpoints we follow Libby as she traces back her family history, while at the same time in alternating chapters we are returned to that fateful day and shown the events from both Ben and Libby's mother's point of view. Other participants of that day occasionally tune in and tell an incident in their own voice, as well. Very well-written, with a tension that continues to rise slowly through the book to the final reveals which are stunning. I did find myself managing to stay ahead of the plot, but just by a few paces, and it still did have a few surprises for me in the end.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Gone Girl first and hated that book even though it had come highly praised. I even bought two copies, one for me and one for my daughter but I was so disgusted with it after reading that I didn't even give it to her. But because of the shallowness, the despicable main characters and no closure at the end of the book I found I just couldn't bear it even though I read it all the way through and couldn't put it down. However, I felt that Dark Places was so much better than Gone Girl I had to leave a review. I have no doubt that Gillian Flynn is a very good writer and that she has a special niche as far as her mystery stories go. The tendency to write about unpleasant characters and go to their 'dark places' worked much better for me in Dark Places than the aforementioned novel. The main character, Libby, calls herself an unlikeable person at the beginning of the story but in fact, as it progresses we discover that she is quite likeable after all. I think Ms Flynn did a much better job at giving Libby some redeeming qualities than she did with the two protagonists (or were they really antagonists?) of Gone Girl. The reader can feel a certain empathy for Libby, who is the lone survivor of the massacre of her family, for which her brother has been tried in a shameful travesty of a trial and sent to prison. The story opens, I believe, 17 years later and Libby has been contacted by a member of a club that follows murder cases they believe are unsolved. This club wants her to help them prove her brother's innocence, even though she doesn't remember anything about what happened. The story is very suspenseful and a real page turner. Maybe it's not for everyone but I do like a good murder mystery, found this had its own style and it fit the bill very nicely as an exciting page-turner.
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Format: Paperback
If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of Gillian Flynn (author of the twisted yet engrossing Gone Girl) I suggest you climb out from under said rock and run to the book store where you can buy the full collective works of Ms. Flynn for under $50. Dark Places is much like Flynn’s other novels; a dark mystery with characters who despite being tainted and unlikable, draw you in and win you over. It tells the story of Libby Day, the only survivor of a horrific satanic sacrifice which left her entire family dead and her older brother Ben in prison for their murder. Twenty five years later, Libby is a depressed, unmotivated kleptomaniac surviving off the last pennies of a trust fund set up by well-wishers when she was a child. She is approached by the Kill Club, a group of fanatics who obsess over notorious murders that are unsolved or (in their opinion) solved incorrectly, who force her to question everything she thought she remembered about that night. As she begrudgingly relives the events that wiped out her mother and two sisters, Libby comes to realize that there were many secrets in her family that people do not want dragged up.

I loved Dark Places, possibly more so than Gone Girl. Libby is instantly unlikable; she is lazy, unmotivated, self-obsessed and a thief. Despite all of this, I wanted to hear more about her and her story, which Flynn writes with her usual expertise. I enjoyed watching the character progression in Libby as she struggles to deal with all of what she uncovers. The flashbacks to the day of the murder from various family members viewpoints was the cherry on top.
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