I just got a notice from Amazon that the latest Gillian Flynn book is finally shipping, so in celebration, I thought I’d post a review of a previous Flynn book. Gillian Flynn writes great, dark mysteries about women who have been severely damaged.
In Dark Places, Libby Day is the only surviving victim of a famous crime. When she was seven years old, her entire family was murdered, supposedly by her 15-year-old brother Ben. She survived by climbing out the bedroom window and hiding in the snow.
As an adult, she has been subsisting on the fringes of society, supported by donations made after the crime, sales of family memorabilia, and money from a book deal. But now she is almost completely broke and embittered, with no friends and her only relative serving a life sentence in prison. Although she is an unlikable character, a liar and manipulator, you somehow end up completely identifying with her.
The bizarre Kill Club contacts her. They are a group of amateur true crime buffs, and they want to hire her to investigate the murders. Most of them believe that the seven-year-old Libby lied in her testimony years ago and that Ben was wrongly convicted.
The true story of the murder is told partially in flashbacks, from the points of view of Libby’s mother and her brother Ben. As usual with Flynn, I found this book to be dark, enthralling, and perceptive.