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Publisher's Summary

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas". As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived, and famously testified that her 15-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer.

Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who've long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details, proof they hope may free Ben, Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she'll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club...and maybe she'll admit her testimony wasn't so solid after all.

As Libby's search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby's doomed family members, including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town.

Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started...on the run from a killer.

©2009 Gillian Flynn (P)2009 Random House

What the critics say

"Gillian Flynn is the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre." (Stephen King)
"A gritty, riveting thriller with a one-of-a-kind, tart-tongued heroine." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another Great Read from Gillian Flynn

Just like the title of my review says, another fantastically dark tale from Gillian Flynn, albeit a lighter one as far as her stories go. The performances in this book I found to be superb, particularly for the two female narrators. I felt like they so perfectly encapsulated the characters they portrayed. Overall a riveting read from beginning to end, couldn’t recommend it enough.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It was pretty good

I liked this book, it kept me going. I really wanted to figure out what happened but when it got to the end it seemed far fetched. #Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

loved it!

Great story and the various narrators made it even more enjoyable! Would highly recommend this one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Loved This Book

This was a really enjoyable audiobook, the female performance was really well done, the male was a bit awkward and wooden, especially as he was portraying a teenaged boy. There were lots of plot twists that kept me listening. Overall, I would recommend #Audible1

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Story

I enjoyed this book very much. I am a fan of Gillian Flynn -- the narration was good as well, which sometimes can really wreck a book. Kept me guessing until the end. Worthwhile #audible1

Thanks.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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my new fava writer

A thrilling novel that keeps you guess to what happened. Wonderfully narrated book and I have recommended his book to all my friends. It does start out a little dark but gets better. one book is in the top ten favorite books for me.

#Audible1

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent

I love how she presents pictures of mental health issues (without judgement) amidst the action of a murder mystery.

#Audible1

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I had a hard time putting Dark Places down.

I bought this book because it sounded interesting and I needed something to listen to while I painted my house. I ended up getting hooked and needing to know what happened next. Needless to say I had to find other things to entertain me while painting because I finished the audiobook well in advanced.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • DQmaine
  • 2016-08-12

Dark indeed

Gillian Flynn writes books that hook the reader quickly, but always leave this reader feeling a little bit "less" after reading. It certainly was a dark story about broken people. At least a little tiny bit of hope lingers at the end.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Glenda Jeffers
  • 2012-12-09

Riveting but brutal

Dark Places is a fascinating story but not a fun read. The book takes pity on no one, least of all it's readers. This truly is the stuff of nightmares, one sadistic chapter bleeding over into the next. Although a work of fiction, Ms. Flynn's unflinching wordsmanship embues it with the realism of a true-crime whodunit. The saving grace, for me at least, was that I could repeat the mantra, "It's only make-believe" when the scenes became a little too intense for my sensitive nature.

Although I covet Ms. Flynn's talent, I wouldn't take it at any price if it meant having to live in her head (ditto Stephen King). Dark Places is not just an aptly-named novel, but probably an apt description of the author's warped imaginings. If I knew then what I know now, I would have stopped at "Gone Girl" and skipped this one entirely. And yet, as incongruous as it seems, I wholeheartedly recommend "Dark Places", just as I recommended "Gone Girl". The reason is simple: Despite the fact that they were dark and foreboding, that certain scenes will likely haunt me for a very long time, and that I can honestly say that I don't miss the characters (no, not a single one!), I am forced to admit that I thought they were riveting from start to finish. So, while I didn't like this book, I did love it.

And now, I'm going to run, not walk, to my bookshelf and find my copy of "Little Women" or "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and try to subdue some of the ghosts from "Dark Places".



256 of 275 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • tigrrlily04
  • 2016-03-11

Ok story, but a bit gruesome

I did not particularly enjoy this book. The narration was excellent, but the book was pretty gruesome, and I didn't really latch on the caring who killed the family. The whole book I just wanted it to end. I give it three stars for the narration and the authors ability to tie the story together with segments from many different perspectives.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • FanB14
  • 2012-11-30

Gone Girl first?

If you loved Gone Girl, chances are you looked for her other titles, as did I. Don't expect the same layered mythology and larger than life characters. But, do look forward to an exciting thriller working backward from present day Libby, the lone survivor of a family massacre. Her brother's backstory is the most interesting. He is currently behind bars for the murders, and pleads innocence. Dark, engaging, and well read by the female narrators. I didn't care for the male narrator, but it didn't detract from the overall performance. Gillian Flynn is one of those rare authors who learns and improves with each novel. Gone Girl was amazing, and Dark Places a solid read. Can't wait to see what she churns out next.

174 of 196 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • 2012-06-13

Tragic and Unforgettable

Having just finished the author’s newest work (Girl Gone) I decided to give one of her other novels a try. What I found was a heart wrenching story of a troubled family so nuanced, so real, I’m having a hard time letting go.

There are three main voices to the narrative; Libby, in the story’s present day of 2009, narrates her struggle to feel safe and stable in the world (both financially and emotionally) as she re-opens the questions surrounding the night her family was killed. In alternate chapters, her mother Patty and her brother Ben take us back to that horrible day in the winter of 1985 that started out badly, and ended so much worse. These flashbacks are time stamped; starting in the morning, and slowly, surely, working their way to that night, and to the truth that’s been hidden for so long.

This is a story of hurt, damaged people told with gritty nuance and no sympathy for the cringing reader. No punches are pulled as the author proceeds to create a stark, uncomfortable, and painful world that engulfs you completely. Listening to this story won’t be “entertaining”, but it will be memorable.

Be aware that this book contains a lot of explicit material of all sorts; language, violence, and sexual content.

The narrators are superb (although I wish a younger sounding narrator had been chosen to represent Ben) and Libby’s voice will continue to play in your head long after you’ve stopped listening.

It’s only June, but I may have found my top novel of the year.

110 of 125 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Steve
  • 2013-06-05

Very Dark but Flynn's weakest offering so far

I enjoyed listening to "Dark Places" very much but found the ending disappointing. Flynn seems to test the limits of "no way that could happen" a bit too much in this novel. Too many coincidences. Flynn also delves a little too deep into grotesque description at points while ignoring more elaborate description at other points. I found just about every character incredibly unlikeable (more below). Lastly, the narrator who narrated Libby Day was a spot on choice for the voice of Libby. She used this desperate, beaten down defeated tone that really matched the character. Beyond that, her range was very limited. Several of the characters had the same voice including Diane, Lyle and Ben. If a character spoke without an introduction like "Diane said" sometimes I thought it was Ben speaking. I think she could be a very good narrator if she broadened her range.
*******SPOILERS*******
The premise of two murders happening about 45 minutes apart for two completely separate reasons took too much suspension of disbelief. the novel builds and builds to a who "dunnit" conclusion and it seems like Flynn took the easy way out. Additionally, one of the most unlikeable characters was the mother. Sure, Runner and all were awful people but the mother was an absolute failure as a parent and mother and the "out" she takes in the end was ridiculous. Flynn should have given her a history of suicidal tendencies or some background to suddenly account for the "mom planned her death" as a conclusion. Also, the description of the assault on the cow as unnecessarily grotesque and prolonged. At the same time, when Lyle picks up Libby at the gas station near the end and wants to take her to the police, Libby "said some awful things." It's like Flynn got near the end of the book and figured, I have to wrap this up. Here was a chance for Libby to expose her flawed, judgmental attitude and Flynn took a pass.
Anyway, I did enjoy the book despite then bizarre ending. Harsh review but based upon Flynn's other work, I have to downgrade this one.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher
  • 2009-12-10

Such crafting

First off let me address the narration, its as good as anything you'll find on the site. Next, this is a dark tale (as the name suggests--don't know why some were surprised to realize this). But dark does not mean it was a bad read. This is a poignant tale of flawed characters, with worries and concerns and heartache we can all relate to. The real gem here is Ms. Gillian. The writing is so good and the plot so cleverly crafted--I am very impressed. To write these characters faced with this situation and to get so pointedly into their heads of different ages and different genders, if you're not impressed, sit down and try it yourself sometime.

86 of 100 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Phyllis
  • 2009-07-02

You won't mind the Monday morning drive to work.

The story is addictive. All of the characters are multi-layered, even the minor characters, and defy stereotypes. There is true menace throughout, coming from many directions. This is mystery writing on a level that never insults the reader's/listener's intelligence. The desperation of the adults is palpable. The pain and humiliation of the children is heart-wrenching. There is an honesty here about how people really feel, about how people really live their lives, that is too often missing. And I liked the main character. I wouldn't want her as a roommate. But her brutal honesty, and wit, were compelling. The narrators did the writing justice.
Don't miss this one.

52 of 61 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • G.
  • 2009-09-20

chilling story

DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn lived up to it's title, but not in the way I first expected. This is not so much a story about devil worship as it is about poverty and where it can lead under the worst circumstances. I love the protagonist, Libby Day, she is outside the box of conventional main characters. Short, plain looking, and without much of a will to do anything, she listlessly cashes checks from a fund created for her after the murder of her family. And she is mean, without apology. It is through her history that you become sympathetic, you get the feeling she never really had a chance. Even if her mother and sisters were not murdered, her brother in prison for committing the crime, you get the idea her life would have been one filled with sorrow and desperation. The Day family are poor, their clothes aren't new, the son is a janitor at his own high school. Things are okay for the girls in grade school, but the pressures of high school under such circumstances, along with a penchant for bad luck, quickly put the family on the path to total destruction. Along with this great social commentary is a pretty strong mystery. If the book was strong throughout, the ending cinched my feelings that this is a book to be had!

51 of 60 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • L. WORLEY
  • 2009-07-27

Great book

I had it figured out, I didn't have it figured out. Then I sort of had it. Then it twisted again. This was a great story and the writer is really good. I would recommend this to anyone who loves mystery/thrillers. More please!

61 of 74 people found this review helpful