Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places - Gillian Flynn

Initial reaction: Man, I'm so conflicted.

Need a night to think on what I should say about this book, but overall - the only reason why I'm not giving this 5 stars is because there were times this narrative dragged its feet a little more in some places than others. But the rest of it: stellar. I think I liked this one more than "Gone Girl" and "Sharp Objects" as far as the mystery is concerned. But what the heck man for all these events? Argggggggh.

A word to the wise: don't read this book at night. It's terrifying. O____O

Full review:

Quick review for a progressive read: this was a solid narration on audiobook, and I found the various narrators to be a nice touch overall for the different persepectives that came across in this book.

Also, I think this might be the one book by Gillian Flynn where I actually liked the main protagonist (Libby has her reasons, I felt for her even with everything going on.) The other characters? Well, that's up for a debate that I might touch in a few points in this review.

This book is divided into four perspective points: Libby Day, Libby's brother Ben, their mother Patty, and one other narrator whose identity will remain nameless because of spoilerific reasons.

Long story short: Libby Day is the sole survivor of her family in a mass murder that led to her implicating her older brother (at the time of the murder, he was 15) when she was only seven years old. This makes her (as well as her family) the center of a massive mystery covered by media nationally and famously (or perhaps infamously). Many years later, Libby is an adult nearly plumb broke, still very damaged from the series of events that shook her world when she was young, and discovering tidbits of information that contradict the testimony she gave so long ago. She searches for answers to the mystery, only to find that nothing is as cut and dry about this case than she believe it to be, with a colorful cast of characters and suspects she uncovers along the way in her search.

Probably the most waning aspect of this novel is the fact that it jumps between four different perspectives AND flips between the past and present. It's a logical flow, moreso than some books I've come across using this tactic, but that means the pacing of this is quite sluggish overall. For me, since I read the audiobook version, I anticipated this somewhat and took my time with it, though I think it could've been a little narratively tighter through the book and not so rushed to conclude. But as for the overarching story and intrigue of the mystery? Brilliantly portrayed. I did somewhat guess who might've been the culprit in at least one part of the murders, but not only did it keep me guessing, I didn't expect it to have several dimensions of what happened that fateful night. Flynn still has her characteristic edge of describing terribly flawed characters in such a convincing way that one can see their motivations and reactions vividly.

I made the *cough* mistake *cough* of reading this book over the course of several nights. Gahhh, the depictions of this are brilliantly creepy and don't skimp on details, and I definitely see a similar coloring to this to her other works. I think this is probably my favorite of Flynn's narratives and I would certainly read it again, even with its caveats. Definitely consider it a favorite.

Overall score: 4/5 stars.