Monday, July 20, 2009

Dark Places (Gillian Flynn)

I stumbled across "Dark Places" one day in the library. It immediately struck me how similar Gillian Flynn's style is to one of my favorite authors, Jennifer McMahon. There is one key difference, however. The reason you cannot stop reading a McMahon novel is because you just have to find out what happens. The reason you cannot stop reading a Flynn novel is quite the opposite. You actually DON'T want to find out what happens, but you are powerless to stop yourself. As the king of macabre, Stephen King, says in a blurb on the jacket of "Sharp Objects" (which I am currently reading and will review in a future post), "I found myself dreading the last thirty pages or so but was helpless to stop turning them."

Let's start with the main character, Libby Day. When she was seven years old, most of her immediate family was murdered in front of her. She testified that her brother, Ben Day, was the killer. Fast forward twenty-five years later. Ben is in prison, and Libby lives off the money she makes from her trust funds. You know Libby is a not-so-nice girl when she regrets new murders that occur because they will take attention away from "her".

The Kill Club, a group of people obsessed with famous crimes, contacts Libby when they become convinced that Ben did not commit the murders. Money-hungry Libby decides that this is her prime opportunity to make more money. She will tell the club what she knows and contact key players in exchange for hefty fees.

Who is the killer? What is the motive? What happened twenty-five years ago? Libby is certainly not a Pollyanna, and she is not a character you will root for. However, you will desperately want to find out the answers to these questions.