Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
So I had written a couple of quick reviews when I first finished this book, but I'd like to expand a bit.
I was introduced to Gillian Flynn's writing a couple years ago when I read Gone Girl. I found it extremely captivating and the very essence of a thriller, so I had pretty high expectations for this book, and I was not disappointed.
To summarize, the story is about Libby Day, a woman whose family (mother & two older sisters) was murdered when she was 6 years old, and her brother was accused and convicted of the crime. She's grown up in the limelight of that crime, hating & fearing her brother, and living off the settlement money and donations sent to "little baby Day" by the public. But 25 years later, the money's run out, and it's time for Libby to grow up, face her fears, and learn what really happened that fateful night.
The story flips back and forth between the present and the days leading up to the murders. In the present, it's always from Libby's point of view, but the flashbacks are told from various points of view: the mother, the brother, etc. That makes is a bit hard to follow, but also adds interest as you try to piece together what happened.
Libby was my favourite. She is bratty and annoying from the start, make no mistake. I wanted to shake her and say, "Get over yourself and just do something!" a lot of the time, but I guess that's sort of the point, because as the story unfolds, she engages more and more and begins to come to life. I also pitied her her lot in life, and was rooting for her the whole time as she made new discoveries and ventured outside of her (many and irrational) comfort zones.
From the first page, I was absolutely gripped by the story. I read it over the course of a weekend, which is pretty fast for me. I think Gillian does an excellent job of keeping just the right amount of creepy thrills without it being overwhelming, scary, or horrifying. Not to say that the murders depicted weren't horrific, and I did get a bit squeamish with some of the descriptions, but it wasn't enough to turn me off of the story.
The ending was really not what I was expecting, at all. I had my ideas from the beginning of who the killer might have been and why Libby was spared, but I didn't suspect the outcome. Once it was presented, of course everything made sense, and I remembered all the little clues we'd been given throughout the book.
I highly recommend this book for lovers of thrillers, mysteries, crime fiction, etc! Gillian is a master at these, and I'm very much looking forward to reading her other titles.
Let me know if you've read Dark Places and what your thoughts were!