“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”
I am a fan of what goes on in Gillian Flynn’s brilliantly twisted mind. I have been since I read Gone Girl, which was her first novel I read. The withdrawal from completing Gone Girl was so intense that I had to get Sharp Objects and Dark Places for myself. Her thought process is almost terrifying as it is intriguing.
I started Dark Places next. If thinking of Gone Girl still gives you shivers, Dark Places is going to ruin you for days. As some people said that the best way to read Flynn’s novels is under the sun, around lots of happy people, these people are right. Even though I have preferred reading all her books in a dark corner of my room with no sunshine and rainbows around me. That is the perfect setting for her novels.
Reading Dark Places, my experience has been often sickening and downright nauseating. And still I was completely compelled to read the book in one sitting.
Dark Places tells the story of Libby Day, a seven year old survivor of “The Satan Sacrifice” murders of Kinnakee, Kansas, where her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered. As the sole survivor, Libby’s testimony implicates her fifteen year old brother, Ben, as the killer. Twenty five years later, Libby is located by the Kill Club- a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes, in hopes of finding details from her that may prove that Ben Day is after all innocent, and free him. Libby, who is already quite broke and in need of money, decides to turn a profit off her tragic history. She’ll reconnect to her past and report her findings to the club for a particular amount of money.
The book is set in present day and 1985 on the day when Ben massacred three of his own family members, Libby being the only one to escape. At first Libby was ready to brush off all the crazy theories of the Kill Club. But as she was presented with more theories and evidence, Libby starts to question what really happened on that fateful night.
The story is narrated in three perspectives- Patty Day, Libby’s mother, Ben Day, and Libby herself.
Prepare yourself for irredeemable, monstrous characters. Gillian Flynn’s special knack at creating truly horrifying female characters takes a lead here. The characters have absolutely no redeemable qualities. For example, meet Libby Day, broke, kleptomaniac, messed up, perpetually pissed off, selfish, and mooching off her own tragedy. But even though she is the very imperfect protagonist who does some horrible things, you eventually take her side. The men in the book are equally despicable and being inside their head is scary to say the least.
Reading the book will truly take you to very dark and ghastly places. From Satanic rituals to drugs, molestation, bullying, underage sex. Gillian Flynn seems to enjoy pushing her mystery and the characters involved towards an unsavoury edge, both mentally and physically. This book is definitely not for you if you can’t stomach mental filth and gore.
I’ve had chills most of the time reading this book. It is my favourite of the three Flynn novels. After having completed all three of her books, I have failed to find any other book yet that seems to quench my thirst for good psychological thrillers.