Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dark Places - Gillian Flynn

One of my favorite books I read last year was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  When people ask me to recommend a book, I usually tell them about The Night Circus, the Divergent series, or Gone Girl.  And in the last few weeks, I have been raving about The Orphan Master's Son.  They all fall into such different categories, so I figure with that selection, at least one should thrill any reader.

And speaking of thrilling, that Gillian Flynn sure knows how to do it.  I typically avoid the thriller genre.  I'm not a blood-and-guts kind of girl.  My husband has been on a big kick lately for violent movies. Actually, I think we have just reached the point in our marriage where he's willing to assert his preferences a bit more, rather than deferring to my movie picks.  Anna Karenina was the last straw for him.  I do not mind some violence to progress the story line, but when it is in excess, it starts to bother me.  

With that in mind, I would not expect to enjoy Flynn's work as much as I do.  But she draws you in.  Her characters are rich and deep and complex, struggling to figure themselves out as much as the reader is.  Her plot is, well, thrilling.  Dark Places enters the world of Libby Day, a woman in her early thirties who narrowly escaped the mass murder of her family at age seven.  Her brother, Ben, has spent the past twenty-five years in prison for the crime.

As the quarter-century mark of the murders nears, though, Libby begins to truly look at what happened for the first time.  She is a twisted, conniving, self-centered, kleptomaniac.  It is obvious from the start of the book that Ben's guilt is going to be called into question over the course of the novel.  I originally thought the final twist would be that Libby had killed her mother and two sisters herself.  She's that kind of dark.

Places certainly was not as good as Gone Girl.  Unlike Girl, which surprised me at every turn and kept me guessing all the way to the last page, I had the end of Places figured out as well as I could before the big reveal of who killed the Days.  The book did not shock me in its story line revelations, just in its horrific detail.  Definitely worth reading, especially if you are a fan of thrillers to begin with.

Flynn delivers a very disturbing book.  I recently enjoyed a live web chat with her through Goodreads.  She answered some great questions about her books and her writing process.  She also mentioned, as she does in the acknowledgments section of her books, how wonderful her husband is.  The dark humor which shines in her writing shows in her personality as well as she laughs about who would want to sleep next to someone who writes such grisly books.  I thoroughly enjoyed how genuine she seemed in the interview and got such a great perspective on the person behind the books.  Oh, and I learned that her name is pronounced "Gil-lian," not "Jil-lian" as I had assumed.  As someone who also has a name people mispronounce, I vow to never say her name incorrectly when recommending her books again.

On a random side note, I set Kevin up with Gone Girl this weekend and he's loving it.  I am continually convinced that creating a love of reading in him is only going to come once I can figure out what exactly it is that makes him enjoy a book.

Do you enjoy reading thrillers?  Now that I have enjoyed Flynn's work so much, I am tempted to try out a few other books in the genre to see how I feel about them.  I only want the best though.  No mediocre slasher novels.  What do you recommend?

Pages: 368
Date Completed: May 7, 2013

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