Dark Places indeed.
This book takes the reader/listener to some truly dark places.
A Kansas family was slaughtered in the middle of a cold January night in 1985. The only survivor was the youngest daughter, Libby Day.
The oldest child, Ben, is the easy suspect for everyone. He’s a troubled teenage boy with a darkness inside of him that easily feeds into the Satanic Panic running rampant in those days. But was he guilty? Was Ben just as innocent of these horrific crimes as he was of the sexual assault accusations being leveled against him by numerous grade school girls?
We join Libby as an adult, running out of money from the donations sent her way as a sympathetic child survivor of the Day family massacre. No longer the sympathetic, victimized young girl, Libby lives in squalor and never quite figured out how to properly take care of herself. This desperate situation is what leads her to The Kill Club, a group of true crime fanatics who imagine themselves to be investigators.
Ripping off painful bandages and digging into a past she only barely recalls, Libby begins to question her courtroom testimony from all those years before. Some mysteries are better left in the shadows, though. Proving Ben’s innocence might lead to nothing more than further death and horror.
Gillian Flynn has a knack for developing interesting characters without making them feel particularly sympathetic. The characters populating Dark Places are no less captivating than others she’s developed, in large part because of precisely how flawed and sometimes awful they happen to be. Despite those flaws and the fact that it’s hard to care about the characters, you can’t help but find yourself invested in what’s happening.
The narrations performed by Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins, and Robertson Dean are fantastic. We experience different characters, at different times, with distinctly different voices…and it’s a nice touch.
Dark Places indeed.