The Dragon loves horror and things that bump the night, but the greatest horror is often revealed in our souls. Gillian Flynn pries into those Dark Places with finesse in this black mystery surrounding a family’s destruction.
When she was seven-years-old, Libby Day survived “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas” by fleeing the carnage in her house to hide in the January snow. Her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered, and Libby, as the sole witness, testified that her brother, Ben, was the killer.
Twenty-five years later, Libby is approached by members of the Kill Club, a secret society obsessed with solving notorious crimes. Members of the Kill Club believe Ben is innocent, but Libby isn’t interested in her brother’s exoneration until she finds herself out of money. For a fee, she offers to be the Club’s liaison and talk with persons of interest who might have been motivated to kill her family.
Gillian Flynn has a direct line to a woman’s black heart and she exhibits great skill as she plunges you into Libby’s tale. There is little that is likable about Libby Day, but somewhere though the pages, she starts to change. Flynn makes the transition so gradual, no word or sentence triggers the moment, but Libby becomes less despicable as she progresses from the destruction of her past toward the truth she once shunned.
Flynn strips away the veneer of polite society to show the people who live beneath everyone’s notice. Here are the farmers and families who were sucked beneath the undertow of predatory bank lending during the 1980’s farm crisis. Flynn shows us that sensationalist headlines often obscure ordinary events surrounding people whose lives simply skid out of control. This is middle America where a good beginning doesn’t equate a happy ending, and a bad beginning can sometimes bloom into a new life.
Dark Places is a riveting tale told with Flynn’s talent for the macabre and caustic wit and is the perfect read for a cold October night.