Any fan of the horror-crime-thriller genre(s) would be pretty familiar with the name Gillian Flynn. They would know how deftly Flynn pens her plots, making the reader go through a whirlpool of fear, suspense, mystery, dread, pity, and stark horror. ‘Dark Places’ is another of Gillian Flynn gripping, spine-chilling novels which refuses to leave your mind free of the macabre incidents happening outside in so many parts of the world.

Libby Day, the protagonist, has been an orphan since she was 7 years of age when her fifteen-year-old brother Ben had been put behind the bars, accused of having brutally murdered his mother and his two other younger sisters for a Satanic cult ritual, while she had escaped through the window.

The prologue, quoted from the book, is-

” The Days were a clan that mighta lived long

   But Ben Day’s head got screwed on the wrong

   That boy craved dark Satan’s power

   So he killed his family in one nasty hour

   Little Michelle he strangled in the night

   Then chopped up Debby: a bloody sight

   Mother Patty he saved for last

   Blew off her head with a shotgun blast

   Baby Libby somehow survived

   But to live through that ain’t much a life

                -schoolyard rhyme, circa 1985 

All her life Libby has maintained that Ben was the murderer of her family. Twenty-five years later when she is contacted by the Kill Club, a group of amateur investigators convinced of her brother’s innocence in the “’The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas” incident, Libby starts to question her own verdict before the court and to herself and the media, forcing herself to delve into the memories of “that night” within the “dark place” in her heart. In return of certain amount of fees, Libby decides to track down the people involved with the massacre, only to discover a deeper truth and finding herself face-to-face with the killer who has now focused on finishing off the unfinished job of wiping off the Days.

The narrative of ‘Dark Places’ swings between the present and the past, the present being Libby’s narration, and the past being mainly Ben’s and Patty’s narrations, giving shape to three different characters and their psychologies. This helps to paint a picture of “a grim life of desperate poverty, marital abuse and abandonment that characterize life on the farm prior to the murder”.

I absolutely love this book, but I don’t think this book is as unnerving and crazy-pulse-beating as Gillian Flynn’s other novels ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Sharp Objects’. I feel that there are times where there is slightly too much information that borders on just-a-little-bit-kinda-boring. But I cannot deny this book of its brilliance as a mystery novel.

I am sure thriller lovers have already given this book a try. But those who haven’t read this, please do give it a try. I mean it- despite that small negative point written above, this book is pretty amazing. If you love Gillian Flynn books, you will love this.


I would give this book a rating of 4/5.

This is the first time I am writing a review on a blog, so a big thank you for bearing with me.

– Bhaswati.


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