Dark Places

  • by Gillian Flynn
  • Narrated by Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins, Robertson Dean
  • 13 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas". As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived, and famously testified that her 15-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer.Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who've long forgotten her. The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details, proof they hope may free Ben, Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she'll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club...and maybe she'll admit her testimony wasn't so solid after all.As Libby's search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby's doomed family members, including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town.Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started...on the run from a killer.

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What the Critics Say

"Gillian Flynn is the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre." (Stephen King)
"A gritty, riveting thriller with a one-of-a-kind, tart-tongued heroine." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Dark Places Indeed...

I live in the general geographical region this book covers. I practice private criminal defense- not traffic tickets, but murder, rape, and robbery. I spend a lot of time in jails and talking to members of society that are true psychopaths, connecting (as much as one can) with them on a personal level, trying to understand their motivations to defend them. So. Why would I spend 13+ hours listening to a book like this?

I have no earthly idea.

Maybe it's because Flynn manages to capture the essence of desperation and poverty in the plains/midwest. The mob mentality of a community which doesn't fully understand the horrors it is presented with. Maybe it's because her characters are so fundamentally flawed that they actually reflect a portion of human nature- a dark, grotesque part for sure, but still a reflection that rings true.

The characters aren't very likable, but they aren't entirely worthless either. Growth and change occurs over the course of the book... but it's just so accurate. That's what keeps getting me. I think many people would be shocked at how much of society functions well within the parameters and mindsets explored in this story.

This book is not for everyone. Not much phases me, but I can see how large portions of this novel would shock people. The ending, while not 100% predictable, wasn't surprising.

The narration was fantastic. I was very leery of trying a multi-narrator book, but it actually worked incredibly well.

Worth a credit and your time.
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- Charlie

Riveting but brutal

Dark Places is a fascinating story but not a fun read. The book takes pity on no one, least of all it's readers. This truly is the stuff of nightmares, one sadistic chapter bleeding over into the next. Although a work of fiction, Ms. Flynn's unflinching wordsmanship embues it with the realism of a true-crime whodunit. The saving grace, for me at least, was that I could repeat the mantra, "It's only make-believe" when the scenes became a little too intense for my sensitive nature.

Although I covet Ms. Flynn's talent, I wouldn't take it at any price if it meant having to live in her head (ditto Stephen King). Dark Places is not just an aptly-named novel, but probably an apt description of the author's warped imaginings. If I knew then what I know now, I would have stopped at "Gone Girl" and skipped this one entirely. And yet, as incongruous as it seems, I wholeheartedly recommend "Dark Places", just as I recommended "Gone Girl". The reason is simple: Despite the fact that they were dark and foreboding, that certain scenes will likely haunt me for a very long time, and that I can honestly say that I don't miss the characters (no, not a single one!), I am forced to admit that I thought they were riveting from start to finish. So, while I didn't like this book, I did love it.

And now, I'm going to run, not walk, to my bookshelf and find my copy of "Little Women" or "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and try to subdue some of the ghosts from "Dark Places".



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- Glenda Jeffers

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-05-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio