Thursday, May 12, 2016

Audiobook Review: Dark Places

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn 
Publisher: Random House Audio
Release Date: May 5th 2009
Format: Audiobook narrated by Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins & Robertson Dean
My Rating: ★1/2

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I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

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 fifteen-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.
This is the third book I've read from Gillian Flynn (all on audio by the way) and I have to say that this one is by far my favorite. I think what makes me like Dark Places so much was that the entire time I had NO idea if Ben actually did it. I didn't really figure it out until right up until the end. No seriously this was me reading this book: "So DID he do? I don't think he did it. Wait...Did Libby do it? Wait, what?" Seriously I could not figure out what the hell was going on in this book, and it made me compelled to just listen to it non-stop to find out.

Gillian Flynn has a knack for writing unlikeable characters that are that way because they are disturbed, and Libby Day was no different. However, unlike Amy Dunne from Gone Girl and Camille Preaker from Sharp Objects, I actually liked Libby. I think the narrator got her sarcastic and cynical tone down really well that I felt like this was my abrasive friend telling me her life story. I kind of liked that she was kind of an asshole to everyone. Maybe because I have that tendency too, but I just felt like I could relate to her and understand why she was the way she was better than her other characters. I do really appreciate that Flynn goes out of her way to write nasty women.

This book worked well in misleading me to what actually happened by the point of view switches. The narration goes back in forth between Libby in the present trying to piece together the clues of her family's murder, to her mom's perspective before and her brother's perspective before. Since the reader gets a lot of clues out of context the writing leads you in circles until the reveal at the end of the novel. I loved that about this book, and it really made me want to read whatever Flynn writes next.

I don't know if reading the print version would make me think differently, but I really enjoyed listening to different narrators telling Libby, Patty and Ben's different stories. I think it worked really well, and it's probably one of the only audiobooks that made me want to wash the dishes!

I would highly recommend this if you really enjoy murder mysteries that really make you think.

Happy Reads!