Book Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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Genre: General Fiction > Mystery & Suspense > Thriller

“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.

Literary Awards: Black Quill Award for Dark Genre Novel of the Year (2010)The Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Nominee (2010)

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Trust Gillian Flynn to twist even the most sacred of all relationships. :))

To rank her novels according to my brand of creepy awesomeness:
1. Gone Girl
2. Sharp Objects
3. Dark Places

Paper clips should not be bought, among other things, according to Libby Day (and I love this about her). This kind of quirky thinking only solidify her already hardened character, that can only come from Gillian Flynn!

Add to that, Libby likes to lift things. As mundane as salt & pepper shakers, paperweight. Curious and curiouser, right? The complexity of her personality was amusing to discover. Libby is not likeable as a person, mind you. But she draws me in, with these little knacks that surfaced when reading her POV.

I daydream about dying.

Patty Day has very disturbing thoughts for a mother. Can you see it?! That line alone was so fucked up to think of, when you wake up and start your day, to take care of your four kids (and you can barely get by). Patty’s chapters are the most compelling, it drove me insane! (Could I think like her, if I were in her shoes? That is what I thought while I read her POVs.)

Ben Day‘s state of mind is disturbing, too dark for a fifteen-year-old. Annihilation. The first time that word burst from his mind, I got goosebumps.. it made me ecstatic! Right then and there, I knew it’s going to be a horrifying read for me. I have no love for Ben though. The bastard was spineless and a cowardly schmuck. Libby on her bad days has bigger balls than him.

When that fateful day (the Days were killed) was finally recounted, the tone of the novel went to downright nasty. It was difficult not to get emotionally attached to Patty =( My insides were in turmoil, but at the same time, I was so keyed up, excited to know who the killer was…

And that fucker.

Dark Places. Gory fun. Typical Gillian Flynn insanity.

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DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn

Paperback, 538 pages

Published May 2010 by Crown

4/5 stars

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Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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Genre: General Fiction > Mystery & Suspense > Thriller

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: She must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

Literary Awards: Barry Award Nominee for Best First Novel (2007), The Crime Writers’ Association New Blood Dagger (2007), Edgar Award Nominee for Best First Novel (2007), The Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger (2007)

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Disturbing is Gillian Flynn‘s middle name.

I love Gone Girl, so naturally I would try another Gillian Flynn novel. Sharp Objects is just as gripping, me reading it overnight is a solid proof of that. I admit I expected something more, but It is a well researched psychological thriller IMO.

There is always something creepy about small towns (take Cryer’s Cross, for instance). Camille Preaker wanted nothing to do with hers anymore. But the pull of unsolved crimes is too intriguing for an upcoming reporter like her. Going back to her family’s Victorian mansion to stay while she research the story, Camille found herself plunged to her childhood nightmare, all over again. (Sweet.)

300+ pages is nothing to me, if Gillian Flynn wrote it! She painted Camille’s horrid past vividly, leaving me to believe a non-existent future is in store for her MC. I understood now that there will never be a happy ending for her characters. And I am fine with that. 😀

I was a little miffed with the incompetence of the local police over forensic evidence. Hello, Detective Willis, that’s you.

When the truth came out in the open, I thought Camille’s story is finished. Silly me, because the twist is still around the corner, begging to be released. I expected that after a few chapters, thought I was wrong, but it turned out I was right in the end! *pats self on the back*

Now, let’s see… Dark Places, I will read you soon.

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SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn

Paperback, 396 pages

Published 2013 by Crown

4/5 stars

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Genre: General Fiction > Mystery & Suspense > Thriller

On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick’s wife, Amy, has disappeared. Nick is weak, Nick is a liar, and maybe he’s not the very best of husbands — but is he a killer? Amy’s diary reveals turmoil over their marriage, strange sicknesses, and her deep wish to be a mother — but is she telling the whole story? As the evidence slowly mounts, and the police investigation deepens, Nick is incriminated in horrible ways. He swears he didn’t murder his beautiful wife and goes on the offensive to clear his name. The mystery of Amy’s disappearance only gets more tangled as secrets unfurl from the web of their knotty marriage, and it becomes clear that something may have happened more disturbing than death.

Literary Awards: Barry Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013), Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013), Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award (RT Award) for Suspense/Thriller Novel (2012), Shirley Jackson Award Nominee for Best Novel (2012), Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013), Goodreads Choice for Best Mystery & Thriller (2012), Women’s Prize for Fiction Nominee for Longlist (2013), Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle – policier (2013)

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Is it wrong that I am rooting for Amazing Amy? Dear me, I enjoyed the craziness of this book!

Ben Affleck (a.k.a Nick Dunne in the upcoming movie) is going to get his ass kicked.

First half of the book and I am already condemning the husband, Nick, to hell. You would, too. But it was too early to have done that. Waaay too early. 😀

I don’t like Nick. With his incessant testament that he loves his wife Amy while having furtive glances on his phone, I thought that he is a class-A douche. And when his secrets are revealed one after another, goodness I was electrified with triumph that I should really hate this guy.

But.

The second half of the book turned the story upside down, and how I loved it! The intentional wickedness behind the diary entries was too much glee, I was exhilirating with delight on the freaking twist of events. Oh, Amy. I envy your brilliant mind. Let’s be friends, yes? *winks*

I get that some of my Goodreads friends abhorred Gone Girl. Maybe on a different reading mood, on an alternate time, I would, too. But the desperation from Nick and Amy that borders to insanity was too hard to resist. Thriller and Mystery/Suspense readers will thrive on the nasty environment that Gillian Flynn has created.

And the much talked about ending… let me tell you that while I absorb the subtle, brutal reality of it, my reaction went from being incredulous to shocked to wonder to being impressed. I remembered the slow, slow smile that began to spread on my face while experiencing those emotions. It was such a mindf*ck, I tell you.

They say that readers are split about that ending.

Well… I am married, and I was not personally offended by Gillian Flynn‘s story. I did not feel violated by the emotional blackmail mercilessly thrown back and forth between Nick and Amy, or by the atrocious acts they did to themselves and to each other. My thought is: why be bothered by it? It was not written to degrade.

And I was entertained. Didn’t you?

Ha! Enough of the debate whether Gone Girl is insulting or not. It is amazing, just ask Amazing Amy. 🙂

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GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

Paperback, 555 pages

Published May 24th 2012 by Crown

4/5 stars