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Jenny's Book Bag

I'm an avid reader, writer, and blogger. I have a diverse taste in books, everything from new releases to classics.

Dark Places

Dark Places - Cassandra Campbell, Gillian Flynn, Mark Deakins, Rebecca Lowman This is my third Gillian Flynn book and I must say, it’s my least favorite. I read Gone Girl first followed by Sharp Objects and finally Dark Places. I was so looking forward to reading this after reading two very good books of hers. I wasn’t as emotionally enthralled by Dark Places as I was her other novels.

I can see why this book is popular, but I just didn’t love it as much as everyone else. I love novels with a twisted storyline and screwed up characters, but Gillian Flynn’s version only got me to about 70% of what I was hoping for.

The synopsis is what drew me to this book in the first place as well as the fact that almost 250,000 readers rated it at over 4 stars. My interest was up and down throughout the novel. I zoned out a few times in the middle, but towards the end, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. I wish she could have maintained that suspense throughout the book. It wasn’t until I got to the last two CDs of the audiobook when I reached the point where I needed to know how it ended and finally get my whodunit answer. Parts in the middle of the book made me feel like I was never going to finish.

I enjoyed the narrative style and plot form – three points of view with a complex plot structure that goes back and forth in time. The story alternates between the present and the mid-1980s while the narration alternates between Libby, Ben and their mother. Libby’s mother and two older sisters were murdered when Libby was seven. Libby testified that her brother Ben killed them, but members of a club, who follow famous crimes, don’t think Ben is the killer. Twenty-five years after her family’s death, Libby is still haunted by it.

I think overall Gillian Flynn did an excellent job writing in this format. It’s hard for a writer to pull this off, but when it’s done well, it’s an effective device. Some authors, who use this form of writing, make their story difficult to follow, but for the most part, she didn’t have a problem.

This was a nice mix of character-driven and plot-driven. There were many plot twists and whenever I tried to guess what would happen next, I guessed wrong. Some of the characters I didn’t particularly like, but they were very well developed. I just wasn’t fond of their personalities. A couple of the characters were so greasy that they were disgusting. These are the characters that dropped the f-bomb like they had a daily quota and they were constantly using trashy slang terms for sexual body parts. It wasn’t just those two things that made them greasy. It was other stuff too, but why spoil all the fun?

Overall, it was good, but not great. If you’ve never read a Gillian Flynn novel, I suggest starting with Sharp Objects and then reading Gone Girl. Save this one for last.