Remember when I reviewed Gillian Flynn’s novel Sharp Objects and said it was “surprising”? Well, I finished another of her works recently, Dark Places, and, again, my best descriptor is “surprising.” My interest in Sharp Objects talked me into giving Flynn another go, and I have to say I think I liked Dark Places even better.
Flynn starts with a bit of a self-clichéd character: the 30ish damaged and hugely bitter woman, this time named Libby Day; however, as if the last girl didn’t have enough reason to be emotionally wrecked, Libby takes it up a notch by being the sole survivor of a massacre in small-town Kansas. Libby lives for the next twenty-five years off of insurance money and sleazy profits from the publicity, but finds herself desperately in need of an income just in time for Lyle and a group of wanna-be crime investigators to swoop in and offer Libby money for appearances, memorabilia, and discussions. Libby soon finds out that the group does not believe that her then teenage brother, Ben, committed the crime of murdering their mother and two sisters, which Libby had claimed to witness. From there, Libby gets pulled into meeting with her estranged brother and father and quickly learns that her own understanding of the crime could be tragically wrong.
Whereas Sharp Objects started slow and didn’t bring the noise until about 2/3 through, Dark Places starts interesting and stays that way, until the last handful of chapters in which things get CRAY! Flynn seems to like this style of “yeah, okay, cool, OhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGod” and I can’t say that I disapprove. She skillfully draws readers in with general but interesting tid-bits, adds just enough fluff to give you the impression that you know what might happen, and then you are swept away by the impact of what really did happen. This one has an ending that I could not have foreseen in my wildest dreams; in the end, Flynn intertwines a handful of storylines that end up being huge, but were merely hinted at throughout the novel. The reader really feels the emotions of the characters, even in a novel about surviving a family massacre, something I cannot claim to have experienced, thankfully! This novel truly accentuates her skill as a writer, since we, as readers, love to think that we’re so smart and can predict the author’s ultimate goal, while still being selfish enough to want a surprise anyway, and boy, do we get one.
Again, wouldn’t recommend to my mom, as it can get “grodey” at times, but I definitely for sure totally recommend it to anyone who loves a good suspense thriller with more than a little bit of grossness.
Hannah reportedly had a mishap with her laptop, so her blogability has been put on hold. I’m batting the internet restriction odds, so let’s all remember that patience is a virtue. As always, I’m reading a classic until one of you suggests a contemporary work I might like.