Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: A Review
Looking at a picture of Gillian Flynn, I can’t help but think of the girl next door. Flynn looks like someone anyone would want to be friends with, that is if they haven’t read her books. She is at the top of several bestseller lists for her latest novel, Gone Girl. As anyone who has read Gone Girl knows, Gillian Flynn has some strange thoughts running through her head. Even though I wouldn’t want to confront her in a dark alley, I am so glad I can benefit as a reader from her unusual mind.
I recently read and enjoyed Flynn’s Gone Girl. It was unlike any other book I has read, so I wanted to rush out to my local library and see if Gillian Flynn had written any other books and if Gone Girl was a fluke. I started with Gillian Flynn’s 2009 novel Dark Places and right away I noticed as I started reading it that it is much darker than Gone Girl. In fact, I probably would have finished it much more quickly, but it gave me the creeps so much that I could only read it during the daytime.
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So, what was so creepy about Dark Places?
Like Gone Girl, Dark Places takes place in the present and in the past. Half of Dark Places is set in Kansas in the dead of winter in 1985 right before and after the slaughter of half of the Day family. The other half of the novel takes place in the present with Libby Day and her quest to make a buck off of the death of her family twenty plus years before. Add to that the accusation of child molestation, devil worship and animal sacrifice, and you have the makings of a very heavy novel.
So, how's the writing?
I can’t imagine anyone accusing Gillian Flynn of bad writing. She knows how to describe those feelings no one wants to talk about: greed, jealousy and apathy, to mention a few. She is a very honest and straightforward writer. The characters in Dark Places are very complex and multilayered; they have faults and flaws just like real people do. Flynn does not try to get you to love her characters and maybe you will not, but you will be entertained by them and they will make the reader think about things they might not have considered before.
So, is Dark Places as good as Gone Girl?
It really is unfair to compare the two, even though that is what I have done during this entire review, but most people are interested in reading this book because they loved Gone Girl.
While I do not think it is better than or even as good as Gone Girl, Dark Places is definitely a good book and is worth reading. If the reader goes into Dark Places expecting a book on par with Gone Girl, they might be disappointed. I think the book suffers from slow pacing at points, but that does add to the suspense of the plot. On its own, Dark Places is a great book and it makes me want to read any book that comes from Gillian Flynn’s sick little mind. Next up I am going to read her 2006 novel Sharp Objects, but first I am going to have to get over Dark Places. It really is that unnerving.