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94 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark places of the heart and in the mind.
Sharp Objects was not a fluke.Sharp Objects If you thought Gillian Flynn's debut novel was twisted and dark then you get more of the same with this blood speckled book of tragedy.
Libby Day,the survivor of massacre that occurs one cold night at her farmhouse home that wipes out her mother and two sisters and leaves her shivering,hiding out in the weeds from the...
Published on 4 Nov 2011 by vi

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too dark for me
I am a big fan of complicated twisting crime novels but this one was too dark for me. I don't mind descriptive, dark themes but they need to have a purpose other than being grotesque andI don't feel that they did in this case. I persevered to find out the outcome of the mystery but I wouldn't call it enjoyable.
Published 16 months ago by V A Rock


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94 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark places of the heart and in the mind., 4 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Dark Places (Paperback)
Sharp Objects was not a fluke.Sharp Objects If you thought Gillian Flynn's debut novel was twisted and dark then you get more of the same with this blood speckled book of tragedy.
Libby Day,the survivor of massacre that occurs one cold night at her farmhouse home that wipes out her mother and two sisters and leaves her shivering,hiding out in the weeds from the killer,hoping he doesn't find her,believing that the perpetrator of this horrific crime may in fact be her own brother.
With that background, we meet Libby some years later, a cold, cynical woman living on a charity bank account filled with donations from the soft-hearted and sympathetic. A bank account that is quickly running dry. With her brother in jail for life, Libby is contacted by a mysterious club who are convinced that her brother Ben is not the real killer and despite telling herself they're wrong, Libby quickly finds herself questioning what exactly happened that fateful night...and who was really guilty and, as we discover, the suspects are many.
This book is a brilliant mixture of mystery and horror. As Libby's mind is in a constant state of indecision as she discovers new information, so we, as the reader,are left pondering,trying to second-guess and when we also flash-back to the day leading upto the massacre from both Libby's mom and Ben's perspective, we get even more drawn into the dark desperation and gloom the whole family was barely coping with.The little secrets people hide and the white lies people tell, brings about injustice and violence here.
Flynn's writing is exquisite, detailed and dense with description that delves deep into the psyches of all involved and it's never a comfortable or safe place to be. Nearly everybody has some layer of threat and menace to them. There are many twists and turns along the way making this book hard to put down and even harder to forget once you've finished it.
An excellent second novel that is both raw, nasty, brutal, honest, enthralling and sad. I didn't guess the ending...will you? Enjoy. Thank you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely Unputdownable - But Know What You're Getting Into, 14 Sep 2014
By 
Becca (Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Places (Kindle Edition)
Gillian Flynn's books have been on the bestselling and recommended lists for the Kindle for as long as I've owned a Kindle, but I'd always avoided them up until now. I'd tried too many supposedly excellent books, mostly from the crime/thriller category, only to be let down and confused as to why they'd received so many glowing reviews. Then a colleague at work breezed in one morning gushing about Flynn's best known book, "Gone Girl", and told me several times throughout the day that I should read it. Remembering my past experiences with recommended books, I instead opted for "Dark Places" to get a feel for Flynn's writing.

...And promptly devoured the entire thing within a day and a half, snatching at passages between doctor's appointments and work lunchtimes, reading late into the night even though I had to get up early this morning. It's been a while since a book has grabbed me so completely.

I will say this: the book is dark. I haven't read "Gone Girl" yet - it's sat here beside me ready to go as soon as I finish this review - but "Dark Places" has an indefinable sinister edge to it, Flynn creating an atmosphere not dissimilar to the likes of Stephen King. A pleasant country town with something sinister bubbling under its docile streets - and then that something goes catastrophically wrong and the rest of the book is devoted to uncovering all of the unsavoury aspects that children, teenagers and adults try their best to hide. None of the characters are pitch perfect, not even protagonist Libby Day - whom I had come to root for and admire by the end of the book - and all of them are written so convincingly that you can picture them as people you've known. There's no black-and-white morality, either: in some chapters I hated a certain character, and in others felt desperately sorry for them. Flynn has a way of making everyone both a hero and a villain, sometimes within the same paragraph.

The story I thought was going to be straightforward, and I did guess as to the actual culprit about halfway through the book - only for the climax to tip me on my head and introduce factors that had been hinted at all along, but in a vague off-hand way that made you deliberately discard them as world-building background noise. The flashes backwards and forwards, from the day of the murder to Libby trying to solve it, gave the book an excellent sense of pace, but also made it so unputdownable - you'd turn a page only to be pulled into the past or catapulted into the future, and then want to read on both to learn more of what was happening then/now, as well as get back to now/then.

The ending, which can be such a make-or-break with a crime novel, was for me perfect. I felt everything had been tied up satisfactorily, that justice had been done, but was also given enough ambiguity for me to decide what should happen next for everyone involved.

So, in short, highly recommended if you're a fan of James Lee Burke (for the Southern feeling of Kinnakee and its inhabitants), Stephen King (for the frank, dark overtones) and Agatha Christie for just a genuinely good mystery. Just bear in mind that the book will not pull its punches - it will utterly absorb and disgust you simultaneously, like something you know you shouldn't look at but you do anyway because the curiosity is just too much to handle.

Now I'm off to read "Gone Girl", and lose another 48 hours of my life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too dark for me, 5 July 2013
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This review is from: Dark Places (Kindle Edition)
I am a big fan of complicated twisting crime novels but this one was too dark for me. I don't mind descriptive, dark themes but they need to have a purpose other than being grotesque andI don't feel that they did in this case. I persevered to find out the outcome of the mystery but I wouldn't call it enjoyable.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accurately titled, 23 July 2011
By 
SonicQuack (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Dark Places (Paperback)
Dark Places is a standalone second novel from Flynn, evidencing she is an author with imagination and talent. The only similarity between the two is the narrative style, edgy and brooding, dark yet not depressing. Following the sole survivor of an horrendous killing spree, the central character can be described as nothing less than damaged - ideal territory for Flynn then. Flicking back and forwards between then and now, this is a tilted murder-mystery novel, not conforming to the usual stereotypes and trappings of the genre. Libby Day is definitely not your archetypal detective however she's a very engaging vehicle for Dark Places, allowing the plot to move in to unusual territories. The final reveal is somewhat disappointing however getting there is great fun. A gritty and dirty novel which cements Flynn's presence on the bookshelves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully raw and rough., 19 Sep 2009
This review is from: Dark Places (Hardcover)
What I loved about this book was the ability of Gillian to write without cliches, full on and head on through Libby's life, inside her mind as well as thoughts and sincere feelings. Flynn's book is so engagig, honest and disarming that if you like thrillers and crime novels this is by far one of the best I have read in ages, because is , like many have said, it delivers more than that, is has humanity on it that this book won't be one of those that you forget as soon as you finish it, stays with you, makes you think, makes you feel the way she feels, the whole family feels.

The plot is written through Libby's eyes but also involves the rest of the familly and little by little you discover them, one by one, you never guess the ending, I didn't, at the end it didn't really matter that much as it was a great Journey for me to read it, although all gets tied up and it had a closure.

Has been much much better than The Lost Symbol (Dan Brown) that I finished just a couple of days a go and I forgot all about it.

Read it.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Gripping!, 18 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Dark Places (Paperback)
I will start my review by saying I loved this book. This isn't the type of book I would usually read. My normal genre is romance, young adult and that kind of thing. So it was different to read a book from a thirty something year old woman. It was also different there being no romantic side of this book.

I really enjoyed the way the author wrote this book. Giving snippets of what happened on the day of the murder between chapters.

From the first few pages of this book you can really feel Libby's depression. It's really sad. You get the idea that she has lived a horrible life since that day of the murders.

I loved the last few chapters of this book, I was totally shocked.

I love how it all came together at the end. It was pretty amazing and I will definitely read more mystery books in the future.

I give this book 5 out of 5 and would 100% recommend no matter what genre you read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Read!, 17 Nov 2014
This review is from: Dark Places (Kindle Edition)
Having already read and liked Gone Girl, I came to Dark Places with high expectations. All I can say is those expectations were exceeded and then some. Gillian Flynn hooked me in from the very first page and the story consumed me until the very end. It's a story that centres itself around the Day family, a family whose motto bemoans the fact that they never have any luck. A motto that seems to be borne out when three members of the family are slain and another one is convicted of their murders.

The murders take place in the early hours of January 3rd 1985 and the story is told from three points of view. The present day narrator is the youngest child Libby Day but her story is interspersed with an account of the day before the murders, told through the mother, Patty Day and the son Ben who was subsequently convicted of the murders.The most compelling character for me, maybe because hers is the only account told in the first person, is Libby. Traumatised by the murder of her family, she has retreated into a crab like shell but her inner life and silent observations of the people around her are hilarious.

The real strength of this book, in my opinion, is the way Flynn has created characters who we should despise but who instead we connect with and can't help but like. Even the feckless father who has abandoned his family is humanised in such a way we don't completely hate him. By the end, the novel leaves us with a small hope that maybe the Days' luck could be about to get better but nothing's certain with this story and that's what I loved about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be able to put this down, 23 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Dark Places (Kindle Edition)
Libby Day is not a likeable character. What happened to her in the past has scarred her emotionally, making her hard, cynical, and out only for herself. She has never got over the slaughter of her mother and two sisters while she hid in a cupboard, and is a ball of anger at having to betray her brother by giving evidence against him.
Barely able to function, she relies on the charity of others to such an extent that all gratitude has gone out of the window; she expects hand-outs, and without them, she is lost. Sadly, though, a 30-something woman doesn’t tug at the heartstrings in the way that a child does, and so the Satanic massacre survivor finds herself forced into action for once in her life – but only so she can make some more money from her family’s death. Sometimes you’ll like Libby despite yourself, sometimes you’ll dislike her despite yourself…
It is from this hard-bitten stance that Dark Places starts; the second novel by Gillian Flynn, whose third, Gone Girl, was a global smash. As the tale goes back and forth between present time and the unfolding events of the day of the massacre, told from the varying perspectives of those involved, Flynn expertly continues to whip the reader between compassion, judgement, dislike, suspicion, and back to compassion again with all of the characters. Creating unlikeable but absorbing people is clearly something the author specialises in – look at the smash success of Gone Girl, which, in my opinion, this novel far surpasses in plot, characterisation, and pace.
Dark Places is a book that keeps you on your toes, and has you guessing then re-guessing whodunit the whole way through, as Flynn manipulates your emotions. It never feels forced though; and towards the end of Gone Girl, it did start to.
This is not a book for the faint-hearted, as some of the scenes are graphically described, particularly near the end – and Flynn doesn’t shy away from delving deep into her characters’ macabre thoughts either. This book is as dark as a crypt, whilst shining a searchlight-bright beam into the darkest recesses of ordinary people’s lives. From the very first page to the last, it drags you along, pulling no punches, and utterly absorbing you. You won’t be able to put it down.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever and Compelling., 16 Oct 2009
By 
J. Cook "Anna" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Places (Hardcover)
This is a dark book indeed - and aptly named. I read thrillers fairly regularly and wouldn't say I'm particularly squeamish or easily scared, but this book has an acute sense of realism that I found quite disturbing. The cast of characters are truly unlikeable and I had little empathy for even the main protaganist, Libby, and although not someone who has to like the people I'm reading about, in this case it just added to the sense of gloom. I thought the cattle slaughter scene was one step too far and really didn't feel the need to read that bit and consequently skipped the whole chapter. However, it is a horribly compelling book and although I was desperate to know the outcome, paradoxically I shied away from picking it up.
It's not what I would call an 'enjoyable' read, but it does have an original plot and it did make my heart pound in dread, which are what thrillers are supposed to do. Read this if you're not easily unnerved, but if you have a slightly sensitive nature I'd leave it well alone.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling and Voracious Tale that Will Set You Off Kilter..., 19 Feb 2010
This review is from: Dark Places (Hardcover)
"Dark Places" is a story that will stay with you long after the read, a troubled contemplation that when reflected upon later, you will end up asking yourself why your reality has just tilted slightly off kilter.

Gillian Flynn has taken the reader to desperate depths as she paints the tale of slovenly Libby Day, whose survival of a brutal farm massacre at age seven has tainted every day of her adult life. With her brother behind bars for nearly 24 years now, convicted of the murders, and the money running out, Libby is offered the opportunity from an unlikely source to sift through the ruins of her life, and probe the memories, the dark places, to find out who was really behind the massacre.

But such growth does not come easily, and truth does not come without a cost, and somewhere out there a murderer(s) is still running around free.

The mediocre, even the mundane everyday tasks for Libby seem almost insurmountable obstacles. Uncovering the truth will certainly be treacherous for her. She is a protagonist filled with bile that has been steeping her innards since the moment she ran stumbling out in the snow from the bloody house. Flynn's unvarnished character portrayal of the Day Family in the time leading up to the massacre, and through Libby's recollections is excruciatingly humble, and painful.

It is a tale that exposes the vein of a poverty-stricken family hunkered down against the world. An air of malevolence surrounding them, like a storm ready to break. And then at times the rare glimpse into the soul: the mother Patty who is single-handedly trying to keep the family together and fed despite imminent foreclosure. A mother who will end up paying the ultimate price to save her family. Ben, the son who's spiraling down a sinister path from which there is no escape. Runner, the mean-spirited dead-beat dad who harasses the family. These are just a few of Flynn's crowning character achievements.

All of these personalities and situations are a recipe for malignancy at their Kinnakee farm. Flynn is ruthless, and ferocious in her descriptions, as she is honest. Libby Day is not anyone's idea of a heroine, but she's persevering. Flynn places the reader on the same level as Day. The awkward journey of self-discovery is taken hand-in-hand. Just as easily as Libby slips the remnants of other peoples lives in her roomy kleptomaniac pockets, so do we. Perhaps someday too, we too can dig in those boxes under the stairs, expose the skeletons and stare them down without fear. Purge those dark places as well as Libby has compellingly done.
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Dark Places
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (Paperback - 10 Jun 2010)
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