Dark Places: A Novel

Paperback | May 4, 2010

byGillian Flynn

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FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

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From the Publisher

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRLLibby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notor...

GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the runaway hit Gone Girl, an international sensation that has spent more than seventy-five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her work has been published in forty languages. Gone Girl is soon to be a major motion picture from Twentieth Century Fox. Flynn’s previous novels, Dark Places and Dagge...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.7 inPublished:May 4, 2010Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307341577

ISBN - 13:9780307341570

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Customer Reviews of Dark Places: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gasp Worthy! This book made me gasp. It's so good -- a well-paced page-turner, beautifully wrought. I literally couldn't put it down for longer than a couple hours at a time once I picked it up.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hard to put down Really good so hard to put down.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great author and novel! I discovered her after reading "Gone Girl" and she does not disappoint!
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dark I have no clue how Gillian Flynn managed to take multiple, competing plots and somehow converge them into one moment of closure. And yet, here we are. None of the characters are likeable, or worthy of any sort of emulation. But there are some really wonderful moments of forgiveness that shine a light in an otherwise overwhelmingly dark novel.
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Book Another great book by Gillian Flynn. A real page turner, well written that leaves you trying to figure it out right to the end.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Great Story I have now read all three of Gillian Flynn's book and can safely say that Dark Places was BY FAR my favourite of the three. I really liked Gone Girl but WOW, did Dark Places ever take the cake. It's not very often that I can sit here and tell you that a thriller/suspense book (a "Who Done It") leaves me hanging to the very last minute but this one did... and then some. It really wasn't until the last chapter that the whole story came together. I also loved how there were two timelines for the story... current and past... and that the past went in chronological order leading up to the time of the murders. BRILLIANT writing!
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed it but it is sad. This book was enjoyable to read as a mystery but it did tug on the heart strings. Would recommend to read but don't watch the movie! The book is 100000 times better.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good read #plumreview Not as good as Gone Girl but a very good read.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good Was not the best but was interesting. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Dark Places The book seemed very predictable and a little all over the place. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't Gillian Flynn's best. Still a good, quick read.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 5 stars If you like dark, twisty, unpredictable reads, then you've come to the right place. You might start here, but don't stop--Flynn's books are all incredible and I'd recommend them all.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceeds Gone Girl The hype around Gone Girl led me to read a few of her other novels, and i was very pleasantly surprised. Gripping and at time painfully terrifying, Flynn spins an unforgettable mystery!
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! Very well written book. It was very suspenseful and kept me entertained throughout. It was a dark and emotional story, although the characters bothered me a bit at times.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Deliciously Dark I like that this book flipped from past to pressent. Kept you guessing the whole way through.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sticks with you Dark, sharp writing, intriguing story.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read! This was the first Gillian Flynn novel I had read (no, not even Gone Girl) and it was amazing. The suspense escalated as the novel progressed and the ending was great and not expected! I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Engaging Read I did enjoy this novel although I enjoyed Sharp Objects more. I found the plot engaging and the mystery was suspenseful.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty OK Dark Places was OK, although I wasn't as immersed in the characters and the story as I would have liked. But the story was engaging enough and it was an enjoyable read.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best this book BY FAR is one of my most favourite books. It keeps you on your feet the entire way through!!!!
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it!! I love all of Gillian Flynn's books. She is one of my favorite authors!! I love the way this story has been crafted. How Gillian has taken us from past to present, character to character. The story is dark, sad, twisted & AMAZING! It leaves you guessing & wanting more!! The movie was pretty great too!
Date published: 2016-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Addictive Read It's hard for me to get invested in a good book and as soon as I picked this one up I couldn't put it down. I loved the gritty and dark atmosphere and the story was incredible.
Date published: 2016-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dark Places The characters are flawed and complex. I like the way the story unfolds and it builds to draw the reader deeper and deeper into the life of Libby Day.
Date published: 2016-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book! I read this recently and loved it. Gillian Flynn is a talented writer. It's a "who done it" kind of book, with lots of unexpected twists. You can identify with both main characters in this book! Highly recommended.
Date published: 2016-01-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A very slow read.... I found the story line was a bit too slow for things to start happening and I had a hard time finishing the book (but I eventually did). There were many unnecessary dialogues between characters that did not help in building the story. There were parts that gave me a rush of excitement, but the author took too many twists and turns to get to the story. A bit frustrating to read and the ending could be better.
Date published: 2015-12-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read, a touch predictable Just finished this book, very well done and an interesting read right from the start - I found the ending a little predictable and rushed but this is worth checking out!
Date published: 2015-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this This is the first book that I have read by Gillian Flynn. I enjoyed it and can't wait to read sharp objects and well her book, gone girl. I've seen the movie and we all know that the books are usually better than the movie. the book kept my interest pretty much till the end. The last hundred pages kinda dragged and could have summed up the story before, But the rest of the book was so good that you can forgive the last 100 pages. Gillian Flynn has made me want to read again. I stopped for a few years. Just lost interest, after reading so many books and losing interest. It says a lot when I finish a book till the end. I lose interest very easy. Looking forward to many more books to come from Gillian Flynn
Date published: 2015-07-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great thriller started reading this book and at first it came off as being a little boring but has i got into the story it was a really good read. its easy to dislike libby and then within a next instance being able to sympathize with her, this is a really good read not as great as Gone Girl however.... can't wait to read Sharp Objects.
Date published: 2014-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from the characters stayed with me I decided to buy the CD after seeing the movie "Gone Girl". My husband and I were heading to Ottawa and I thought it would be nice to listen to this novel instead of the radio for once. So glad I did. Loved it! Yes it is a little dark but loved it anyway. I look forward to more.
Date published: 2014-11-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Page Turner Once I got into the story I couldn't put the book down. It had you guessing all along the way what happened and who might be involved in something so horrific. A must read :)
Date published: 2014-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent New Author!!! I read this book because of Gone Girl. I found this book even better than gone girl. The story line was not predictable. I loved this book because you could just get lost in the story. The book was well written. Flynn has an excellent knack of conceptualizing human nature and behaviors.
Date published: 2014-10-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dark and Sad but a good read The book is dark and sad but a good read overall, I did n't think as good as her other books but still enjoyable.
Date published: 2014-10-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Dark places indeed I loved Glynn's Sharp Objects and Gone Girl but was a bit disappointed in this one. I really didn't like Libby as a person but realize that her personality was flawed partly because of her history. There were several unsavory characters in Dark Places! I lent my copy to a friend and avid reader who returned it after the first couple of chapters as she found it depressing. I am glad I read it all but didn't love it.
Date published: 2014-09-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sad but great! This was my first time reading a Gillian Flynn novel and I'm glad I did! The characters are well developed and the storyline is quite good. You relive the pain of the characters while learning the tragic truth of what happened to this family. A little gory at times, but still a great page turner!
Date published: 2014-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thinker!! This book was amazing just like Gone Girl! This book kept me thinking the whole time. When I thought I had it figured out they through something totally out of nowhere at you and make you rethink everything! It was written very well and I look forward to reading more books for Gillian Flynn
Date published: 2014-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So, So Good Not only did I love this book but when I suggested it to my German friend (I'm canadian) she loved it too. READ THIS you will not be sorry.
Date published: 2014-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from SO GOOD She's a brilliant author. Also, chapters is very affordable and the shipping was fast. I'm always happy with their services.
Date published: 2014-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I decided to read this after being blown away by Gone Girl, and Dark Places did not disappoint! I had a hard time putting this book down. Highly recommended!!
Date published: 2014-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from amazingly haunting I bought this book a while ago and it did not disappoint.  It is a haunting story and the main character relives the tragedy over and over again in order to come to terms with it and discover the truth. 
Date published: 2014-02-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed Was expecting a great read but ended up being disappointed. 
Date published: 2014-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique page turner Thrilling page tuner that is well written from three perspectives and as feely moving as it is deeply disturbing! I could not put it down and I wanted to finish it desperately once I had picked it up. Much better than her third and first novels! 
Date published: 2013-12-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from a very dark and sad story about a depressed and lonely siblings. 2 protagonists Ben (oldest) and Libby (youngest). Chapters switched narrator between Ben, Libby and Patty (mom). Themes: Extremely down on their luck family, poverty, teenage, emotions, misunderstandings, explicit sexual content (involving minors), devil worship, alcoholism, murder, money, drugs, animal torture, gore. Pros: - good story, moves smoothly - likeable characters - a good whodunnit story and what actually happened? - povs not over detailed, straight to point Cons: - animal torture - underage sex and sexuality - was hoping for a better twist (read Gone Girl first and expectations were high) Flynn is a great writer on disturbed stories and characters. This is the second book I read of hers and it is disturbing. She can take any happy go lucky cheery reader to an extremely dark place. We really are our own worst enemy. I gave it a 3/5 because I extremely dislike animal torture, but it paints a picture of what is actually going on and how messed up these people are.
Date published: 2013-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dark Places is Most Definately a Dark Read! Extremely dark fiction seems to be making a ressurgence with authors like Flynn, Haynes and Watson. I love the real-life, dark portrayals of some of the twisted events that life can throw our way. I think this novel was much better than Flynn's most recent one "Gone Girl", but it definately has the darkness and twists that "Gone Girl" gave us. Highly recommended to lovers of dark fiction.
Date published: 2013-06-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Check out this earlier book by Flynn Libby Day is a survivor. She’s survived a drunken, dead-beat father, Runner, extreme poverty, and the horrific massacre of her mother, Patty, and two older sisters, Michelle and Debby. Well, maybe to call her a survivor is a stretch because Libby is reclusive and mean. She says it hersel fat the beginning of Gillian Flynn’s terrific novel, Dark Places. "I have a meaness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you can stomp on it. It’s the Day blood. Something’s wrong with it. I was never a good little girl, and I got worse after the murders." Ah, yes, the murders. For the past 24 years Libby’s older brother, Ben, has languised in prison for the crime. He was 15 when he is alledged to have killed his mother and younger sisters. Libby has never once visited him partly, perhaps, because it was her testimony that sent him there. She was seven at the time. Now, at 30, Libby is alone, broke and desperate. That’s how she comes to accept The Kill Club’s offer. Lyle, one of the Kill Club’s members, reaches out to Libby and makes her a propostion. If she’s willing to come to a meeting and talk about the case, they’ll pay her $500. That original deal morphs into something more and suddenly Libby is revisiting the night that changed her life forever. Gillian Flynn (right) is a new-to-me writer although everyone and their dog has likely heard about her by now due to her recent novel, Gone Girl. She started her writing career as a journalist and was the TV critic for Entertainment Weekly for a decade before turning her hand to fiction. She’s beautiful. And scary. And it just occurred to me that her writing reminds me of one of my all-time favourite writers, Lisa Reardon. Her writing is fearless…and fear-inducing. Dark Places unspools the Day murders in two ways: as Libby digs for the truth and as the events of the day unravel. For this, we spend time with Patty and Ben. Patty is a sympathetic character, a mom who loves her children and tries to care for them, but whose dwindling emotional and financial resources make it nearly impossible. Ben, on the other hand, is a fifteen-year-old boy in a house full of women. He’s desperately searching for a place to belong and an outlet for the anger which bubbles inside him. Flynn skilfully weaves the threads of this story together offering the reader equal measures of horror and heartbreak. I couldn’t put the book down – that’s just about the highest praise I can give a book.
Date published: 2013-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Before the wildly popular "Gone Girl" there was "Dark Places". Flynn takes us on a thrill ride with loads of suspense and a page turning plot. Graphic and intense at times you can't help but get emotional for this poor dysfunctional family, the struggles they endure and the mystery of the horrific family murders that affect surviving siblings Ben and Libby. Gillian Flynn is a great storyteller.
Date published: 2012-12-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Something a Little Different I liked this book. It was good. Not my top ten, but I really enjoyed the mystery in the novel. And for once, something a little dark was interesting.
Date published: 2012-10-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Kept me guessing! I enjoyed this book a lot. I will definitely check out her first book now that I have finished this one. I liked that I kept guessing who the murderer was, but just never guessed right, great book!
Date published: 2011-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from VERY GOOD not for the faint at heart-but excellent-the characters are flawed and this makes for a great read-grips you from the start
Date published: 2010-04-21

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Libby DayNowI have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it. It’s the Day blood. Something’s wrong with it. I was never a good little girl, and I got worse after the murders. Little Orphan Libby grew up sullen and boneless, shuffled around a group of lesser relatives—second cousins and great-aunts and friends of friends—stuck in a series of mobile homes or rotting ranch houses all across Kansas. Me going to school in my dead sisters’ hand-me-downs: Shirts with mustardy armpits. Pants with baggy bottoms, comically loose, held on with a raggedy belt cinched to the farthest hole. In class photos my hair was always crooked—barrettes hanging loosely from strands, as if they were airborne objects caught in the tangles—and I always had bulging pockets under my eyes, drunk-landlady eyes. Maybe a grudging curve of the lips where a smile should be. Maybe.I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.It was miserable, wet-bone March and I was lying in bed thinking about killing myself, a hobby of mine. Indulgent afternoon daydreaming: A shotgun, my mouth, a bang and my head jerking once, twice, blood on the wall. Spatter, splatter. “Did she want to be buried or cremated?” people would ask. “Who should come to the funeral?” And no one would know. The people, whoever they were, would just look at each other’s shoes or shoulders until the silence settled in and then someone would put on a pot of coffee, briskly and with a fair amount of clatter. Coffee goes great with sudden death.I pushed a foot out from under my sheets, but couldn’t bring myself to connect it to the floor. I am, I guess, depressed. I guess I’ve been depressed for about twenty-four years. I can feel a better version of me somewhere in there—hidden behind a liver or attached to a bit of spleen within my stunted, childish body—a Libby that’s telling me to get up, do something, grow up, move on. But the meanness usually wins out. My brother slaughtered my family when I was seven. My mom, two sisters, gone: bang bang, chop chop, choke choke. I didn’t really have to do anything after that, nothing was expected.I inherited $321,374 when I turned eighteen, the result of all those well-wishers who’d read about my sad story, do-gooders whose hearts had gone out to me. Whenever I hear that phrase, and I hear it a lot, I picture juicy doodle-hearts, complete with bird-wings, flapping toward one of my many crap-ass childhood homes, my little-girl self at the window, waving and grabbing each bright heart, green cash sprinkling down on me, thanks, thanks a ton! When I was still a kid, the donations were placed in a conservatively managed bank account, which, back in the day, saw a jump about every three–four years, when some magazine or news station ran an update on me. Little Libby’s Brand New Day: The Lone Survivor of the Prairie Massacre Turns a Bittersweet 10. (Me in scruffy pigtails on the possum-pissed lawn outside my Aunt Diane’s trailer. Diane’s thick tree-calves, exposed by a rare skirt, planted on the trailer steps behind me.) Brave Baby Day’s Sweet 16! (Me, still miniature, my face aglow with birthday candles, my shirt too tight over breasts that had gone D-cup that year, comic-book sized on my tiny frame, ridiculous, porny.)I’d lived off that cash for more than thirteen years, but it was almost gone. I had a meeting that afternoon to determine exactly how gone. Once a year the man who managed the money, an unblinking, pink-cheeked banker named Jim Jeffreys, insisted on taking me to lunch, a “checkup,” he called it. We’d eat something in the twenty-dollar range and talk about my life—he’d known me since I was this-high, after all, heheh. As for me, I knew almost nothing about Jim Jeffreys, and never asked, viewing the appointments always from the same kid’s-eye view: Be polite, but barely, and get it over with. Single-word answers, tired sighs. (The one thing I suspected about Jim Jeffreys was that he must be Christian, churchy—he had the patience and optimism of someone who thought Jesus was watching.) I wasn’t due for a “checkup” for another eight or nine months, but Jim Jeffreys had nagged, leaving phone messages in a serious, hushed voice, saying he’d done all he could to extend the “life of the fund,” but it was time to think about “next steps.”And here again came the meanness: I immediately thought about that other little tabloid girl, Jamie Something, who’d lost her family the same year—1985. She’d had part of her face burned off in a fire her dad set that killed everyone else in her family. Any time I hit the ATM, I think of that Jamie girl, and how if she hadn’t stolen my thunder, I’d have twice as much money. That Jamie Whatever was out at some mall with my cash, buying fancy handbags and jewelry and buttery department-store makeup to smooth onto her shiny, scarred face. Which was a horrible thing to think, of course. I at least knew that.Finally, finally, finally I pulled myself out of bed with a stage- effect groan and wandered to the front of my house. I rent a small brick bungalow within a loop of other small brick bungalows, all of which squat on a massive bluff overlooking the former stockyards of Kansas City. Kansas City, Missouri, not Kansas City, Kansas. There’s a difference.My neighborhood doesn’t even have a name, it’s so forgotten. It’s called Over There That Way. A weird, subprime area, full of dead ends and dog crap. The other bungalows are packed with old people who’ve lived in them since they were built. The old people sit, gray and pudding-like, behind screen windows, peering out at all hours. Sometimes they walk to their cars on careful elderly tiptoes that make me feel guilty, like I should go help. But they wouldn’t like that. They are not friendly old people—they are tight-lipped, pissed-off old people who do not appreciate me being their neighbor, this new person. The whole area hums with their disapproval. So there’s the noise of their disdain and there’s the skinny red dog two doors down who barks all day and howls all night, the constant background noise you don’t realize is driving you crazy until it stops, just a few blessed moments, and then starts up again. The neighborhood’s only cheerful sound I usually sleep through: the morning coos of toddlers. A troop of them, round-faced and multilayered, walk to some daycare hidden even farther in the rat’s nest of streets behind me, each clutching a section of a long piece of rope trailed by a grown-up. They march, penguin-style, past my house every morning, but I have not once seen them return. For all I know, they troddle around the entire world and return in time to pass my window again in the morning. Whatever the story, I am attached to them. There are three girls and a boy, all with a fondness for bright red jackets—and when I don’t seen them, when I oversleep, I actually feel blue. Bluer. That’d be the word my mom would use, not something as dramatic as depressed. I’ve had the blues for twenty-four years.I put on a skirt and blouse for the meeting, feeling dwarfy, my grown-up, big-girl clothes never quite fitting. I’m barely five foot—four foot, ten inches in truth, but I round up. Sue me. I’m thirty-one, but people tend to talk to me in singsong, like they want to give me fingerpaints.I headed down my weedy front slope, the neighbor’s red dog launching into its busybody barking. On the pavement near my car are the smashed skeletons of two baby birds, their flattened beaks and wings making them look reptilian. They’ve been there for a year. I can’t resist looking at them each time I get in my car. We need a good flood, wash them away.Two elderly women were talking on the front steps of a house across the street, and I could feel them refusing to see me. I don’t know anyone’s name. If one of those women died, I couldn’t even say, “Poor old Mrs. Zalinsky died.” I’d have to say, “That mean old bitch across the street bit it.”Feeling like a child ghost, I climbed into my anonymous midsized car, which seems to be made mostly of plastic. I keep waiting for someone from the dealership to show up and tell me the obvious: “It’s a joke. You can’t actually drive this. We were kidding.” I trance-drove my toy car ten minutes downtown to meet Jim Jeffreys, rolling into the steakhouse parking lot twenty minutes late, knowing he’d smile all kindly and say nothing about my tardiness.I was supposed to call him from my cell phone when I arrived so he could trot out and escort me in. The restaurant—a great, old-school KC steakhouse—is surrounded by hollowed-out buildings that concern him, as if a troop of rapists were permanently crouched in their empty husks awaiting my arrival. Jim Jeffreys is not going to be The Guy Who Let Something Bad Happen to Libby Day. Nothing bad can happen to BRAVE BABY DAY, LITTLE GIRL LOST, the pathetic, red-headed seven-year-old with big blue eyes, the only one who survived the PRAIRIE MASSACRE, the KANSAS CRAZE-KILLINGS, the FARMHOUSE SATAN SACRIFICE. My mom, two older sisters, all butchered by Ben. The only one left, I’d fingered him as the murderer. I was the cutie-pie who brought my Devil- worshiping brother to justice. I was big news. The Enquirer put my tearful photo on the front page with the headline ANGEL FACE.I peered into the rearview mirror and could see my baby face even now. My freckles were faded, and my teeth straightened, but my nose was still pug and my eyes kitten-round. I dyed my hair now, a white-blonde, but the red roots had grown in. It looked like my scalp was bleeding, especially in the late-day sunlight. It looked gory. I lit a cigarette. I’d go for months without smoking, and then remember: I need a cigarette. I’m like that, nothing sticks.“Let’s go, Baby Day,” I said aloud. It’s what I call myself when I’m feeling hateful.I got out of the car and smoked my way toward the restaurant, holding the cigarette in my right hand so I didn’t have to look at the left hand, the mangled one. It was almost evening: Migrant clouds floated in packs across the sky like buffalo, and the sun was just low enough to spray everything pink. Toward the river, between the looping highway ramps, obsolete grain elevators sat vacant, dusk-black and pointless.I walked across the parking lot all by myself, atop a constellation of crushed glass. I was not attacked. It was, after all, just past 5 p.m. Jim Jeffreys was an early-bird eater, proud of it.He was sitting at the bar when I walked in, sipping a pop, and the first thing he did, as I knew he would, was grab his cell phone from his jacket pocket and stare at it as if it had betrayed him.“Did you call?” he frowned.“No, I forgot,” I lied.He smiled then. “Well, anyway. Anyway, I’m glad you’re here, sweetheart. Ready to talk turkey?”He slapped two bucks on the bartop, and maneuvered us over to a red leather booth sprouting yellow stuffing from its cracks. The broken slits scraped the backs of my legs as I slid in. A whoof of cigarette stink burped out of the cushions.Jim Jeffreys never drank liquor in front of me, and never asked me if I wanted a drink, but when the waiter came I ordered a glass of red wine and watched him try not to look surprised, or disappointed, or anything but Jim Jeffreys–like. What kind of red? the waiter asked, and I had no idea, really—I never could remember the names of reds or whites, or which part of the name you were supposed to say out loud, so I just said, House. He ordered a steak, I ordered a double-stuffed baked potato, and then the waiter left and Jim Jeffreys let out a long dentist-y sigh and said, “Well, Libby, we are entering a very new and different stage here together.”“So how much is left?” I asked, thinking saytenthousandsayten thousand.“Do you read those reports I send you?”“I sometimes do,” I lied again. I liked getting mail but not reading it; the reports were probably in a pile somewhere in my house.“Have you listened to my messages?”“I think your cell phone is messed up. It cuts out a lot.” I’d listened just long enough to know I was in trouble. I usually tuned out after Jim Jeffreys’ first sentence, which always began: Your friend Jim Jeffreys here, Libby . . .Jim Jeffreys steepled his fingers and stuck his bottom lip out. “There is 982 dollars and 12 cents left in the fund. As I’ve mentioned before, had you been able to replenish it with any kind of regular work, we’d have been able to keep it afloat, but . . .” he tossed out his hands and grimaced, “things didn’t work out that way.”

Bookclub Guide

US1. Did you like Libby as a character? Do you think the author intended for her to be likeable?2. As the book shifted between points of view, did you find one most appealing, most enlightening, or most reliable?3. Why has Libby ignored Jim Jeffreys’s advice to earn an income for so many years? Do you believe she feels she’s earned the money she’s been gifted by strangers? What is her attitude toward money?4. Throughout the book, many characters seem to feel as though life is something that happens to them; others take a more proactive role in steering its course, often with disastrous consequences. Discuss the book’s theme of action versus reaction, investigation versus acceptance. Where does Libby’s behavior fit in this contrast?5. Like others Libby meets during her investigation, Barb Eichel seems pleased to have been contacted, having “wondered if you’d ever get in touch.” Why did Barb wait for Libby to come to her? Did Barb do enough to remedy the harm she thinks her book has done?6. As Lyle first brings Libby through the Kill Club gathering, he distinguishes between different types of members—role players and solvers, for instance. Do you consider these to be meaningful differences? How do the various groups make use of the club?7. In considering the case of the missing girl Lisette Stephens, Libby thinks to herself, “There was nothing to solve . . . She just vanished for no reason anyone could think of, except she was pretty.” Do you think it’s strange that Libby considers this an uninteresting case? What does her attitude toward Lisette say about her view of her own family’s murder? Was there something to “solve” in the Days’ murder?8. What do you make of Magda, the middle-class Kill Club member so fond of Ben, and so callous to her own son? What does her character tell us, if anything, about the Kill Club and its members?9. One of the appealing aspects of the Day case (according to Lyle) is the role of children as instigators, victims, and unreliable witnesses. Do you see any similarities among Krissi’s accusation, Libby’s false eyewitness account, and Lyle’s role in the California fires? Were these children to blame for their mistakes? In what ways did they attempt to right the wrongs they caused?10. “No one ever forgives me for anything,” one character says. What role does forgiveness play in Dark Places? Which characters should be more forgiving? Less?11. What do you think of Diondra’s relationships? Why is she attracted to Ben? Why is Trey such a constant companion? Do you think she was romantically involved with Trey?12. Patty Day frequently worries whether she is a good mother. What do you think? How does the book depict parents in general? Who do you consider the “good” and “bad” parents in the book?13. Did you think Ben was guilty? Does the author intend for us to doubt him?14. Why doesn’t Diane return Libby’s phone calls? What does she mean at the end of the book when she says, “I knew you could do it . . . I knew you could . . . try just a little harder”? Do you like Diane?15. Why do you think Libby, at the end of the book, thinks twice before shoplifting? Is this reflective of a new attitude toward the world? How?16. Do you think Ben will find Crystal? What do you imagine their reunion would be like?17. Why do you think the author chose to set the murders on a farm? What images and themes does the heartland and farming evoke?18. Libby is a liar, a manipulator, a kleptomaniac, and an opportunist. Does she have any redeeming qualities? Are you able to empathize with her? If so, why?

Editorial Reviews

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERNamed one of the Best Books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly A Weekend TODAY “Top Summer Read”The New Yorker's Reviewers' Favorite from 2009A 2009 Favorite Fiction Pick by The Chicago Tribune “[A] nerve-fraying thriller.” —The New York Times“Flynn’s well-paced story deftly shows the fallibility of memory and the lies a child tells herself to get through a trauma.” —The New Yorker“Gillian Flynn coolly demolished the notion that little girls are made of sugar and spice in Sharp Objects, her sensuous and chilling first thriller. In DARK PLACES, her equally sensuous and chilling follow-up, Flynn…has conjured up a whole new crew of feral and troubled young females….[A] propulsive and twisty mystery.” —Entertainment Weekly“Flynn follows her deliciously creepy Sharp Objects with another dark tale . . . The story, alternating between the 1985 murders and the present, has a tense momentum that works beautifully. And when the truth emerges, it’s so macabre not even twisted little Libby Day could see it coming.”—People (4 stars)“Crackles with peevish energy and corrosive wit.” —Dallas Morning News“A riveting tale of true horror by a writer who has all the gifts to pull it off.” —Chicago Tribune"In her first psychological thriller, Sharp Objects, Flynn created a world unsparingly grim and nasty (the heroine carves words into her own flesh) written with irresistibly mordant humor. The sleuth in her equally disturbing and original second novel is Libby Day....It's Flynn's gift that she can make a caustic, self-loathing, unpleasant protagonist someone you come to root for.” —New York Magazine“[A] gripping thriller.”—Cosmopolitan"Gillian Flynn is the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre.”–Stephen King“Another winner!”—Harlan Coben“Gillian Flynn’s writing is compulsively good. I would rather read her than just about any other crime writer.”—Kate Atkinson“Dark Places grips you from the first page and doesn't let go.”—Karin Slaughter“With her blistering debut Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn hit the ground running. Dark Places demonstrates that was no fluke.”—Val McDermid“Dark Places' Libby Day may seem unpleasant company at first–she's humoring those with morbid curiosities about her family's murders in order to get money out of them–but her steely nature and sharp tongue are compelling. 'I have a meanness inside me,'she says, 'real as an organ.'Yes she does, and by the end of this pitch-black novel, after we've loosened our grip on its cover and started breathing deeply again, we're glad Flynn decided to share it.” —Jessa Crispin, NPR.org“Flynn returns to the front ranks of emerging thriller writers with her aptly titled new novel . . . Those who prefer their literary bones with a little bloody meat will be riveted.” —Portland Oregonian“Gillian Flynn may turn out to be a more gothic John Irving for the 21st century, a writer who uses both a surgeon's scalpel and a set of rusty harrow discs to rip the pretty face off middle America.” —San Jose Mercury News“The world of this novel is all underside, all hard flinch, and Flynn’s razor-sharp prose intensifies this effect as she knuckles in on every sentence. . . . The slick plotting in DARK PLACES will gratify the lover of a good thriller–but so, too, will Flynn’s prose, which is ferocious and unrelenting and pure pleasure from word one.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer“Gillian Flynn’s second novel, DARK PLACES, proves that her first – Sharp Objects – was no fluke. . . . tough, surprising crime fiction that dips its toes in the deeper waters of literary fiction.” —Chicago Sun-Times"Flynn fully inhabits Libby—a damaged woman whose world has resided entirely in her own head for the majority of her life and who is prone to dark metaphors: 'Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.' Half the fun of DARK PLACES is Libby’s swampy psychology, which Flynn leads us through without the benefit of hip waders.”—Time Out Chicago“Clever, engrossing and disturbing….[DARK PLACES] should cement [Flynn’s] place in the great authors of crime fiction.” —Crimespree“[D]eliciously creepy...Flynn follows 250-some pages of masterful plotting and character development with a speedway pileup of pulse-pounding revelations.” —Chicago Reader“A genuinely shocking denouement.” —Romantic Times“Sardonic, riveting . . . Like Kate Atkinson, Flynn has figured out how to fuse the believable characters, silken prose and complex moral vision of literary fiction to the structure of a crime story. . . . You can sense trouble coming like a storm moving over the prairie, but can't quite detect its shape.” —Laura Miller, Salon.com“These characters are fully realized—so true they could step off the page….hints of what truly happened to the Day family feel painfully, teasingly paced as they forge an irresistible trail to the truth….Could. Not. Stop. Reading.”—Bookreporter.com“Libby’s voice is a pitch-perfect blend of surliness and emotionally charged imagery. . . . The Kansas in these pages is a bleak, deterministic place where bad blood and lies generate horrifically unintended consequences. Though there’s little redemption here, Flynn manages to unearth the humanity buried beneath the squalor.”—Bloomberg.com“Set in the bleak Midwest of America, this evocation of small-town life and dysfunctional people is every bit as horribly fascinating as Capote’s journalistic retelling of a real family massacre, In Cold Blood, which it eerily resembles. This is only Flynn’ s second crime novel–her debut was the award-winning Sharp Objects–and demonstrates even more forcibly her precocious writing ability and talent for the macabre.” —Daily Mail (UK)“Flynn’s second novel is a wonderful evocation of drab small-town life. The time-split narrative works superbly and the atmosphere is eerily macabre—Dark Places is even better than the author’s award-winning Sharp Objects.”—The Guardian (UK)“A gritty, riveting thriller with a one-of-a-kind, tart-tongued heroine.” —Booklist, starred review“Flynn’s second crime thriller tops her impressive debut, Sharp Objects…When the truth emerges, it’s so twisted that even the most astute readers won’t have predicted it.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review“The sole survivor of a family massacre is pushed into revisiting a past she’d much rather leave alone, in Flynn’s scorching follow-up to Sharp Objects . . . Flynn intercuts Libby’s venomous detective work with flashbacks to the fatal day 24 years ago so expertly that as they both hurtle toward unspeakable revelations, you won’t know which one you’re more impatient to finish. . . . every sentence crackles with enough baleful energy to fuel a whole town through the coldest Kansas winter.”—Kirkus Reviews“Once in a while a book comes along that puts a new spin on an old idea. More than 40 years ago, Truman Capote took readers inside the Clutter farmhouse in Holcomb, KS, to show them what it was like to walk in a killer's shoes. Flynn takes modern readers back to Kansas to explore the fictional 1985 Day family massacre from the perspective of a survivor as well as the suspects. . . . tight plotting and engaging characters.” —Library Journal