Author: Gillian Flynn

Audio Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Posted July 15, 2015 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 2 Comments

Audio Review: Dark Places by Gillian FlynnDark Places by Gillian Flynn
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Published by Penguin Random House Audio on May 5, 2009
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Length: 13 hours, 44 minutes
Source: Library
Audio | Goodreads

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.


Icon MURDER MYSTERYIcon Library Bookicon twisted

When Libby Day was seven, her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered in their farmhouse, her 15-year old brother convicted of the crime thanks in part to her eye witness testimony. It’s now almost 25 years later and Libby goes back and reconnects with the major participants, including her brother, Ben. However, she’s not doing this for altruistic reasons.


To describe this story as dark is an understatement. What makes it so disturbing are the ages of those involved and how ordinary most of the others are, creating the feeling that, in similar circumstances, any of us could make some of the same bad choices as many of those in the story. Libby is both tragic and unsympathetic at times and her motives for revisiting the past are pretty sad. The story is told in three narratives for most of the story: Libby’s, Ben’s and their mother, Patty’s. There’s a fourth narrative near the end that provides a surprising twist.


I listened to the story and the four narrators were excellent. It’s incredibly interesting, drawing you in immediately and almost suffocating you with all its dark places. Even so, I couldn’t stay away. While Gone Girl was rather twisted, this was different…just dark. Well done?


Listen to a Clip!

About Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn was born in Kansas City, Missouri to two community-college professors—her mother taught reading; her father, film. Thus she spent an inordinate amount of her youth nosing through books and watching movies. She has happy memories of having A Wrinkle in Time pried from her hands at the dinner table, and also of seeing Alien, Psycho and Bonnie and Clyde at a questionable age (like, seven). It was a good childhood.

In high-school, she worked strange jobs that required her to do things like wrap and unwrap hams, or dress up as a giant yoghurt cone. A yoghurt cone who wore a tuxedo. Why the tuxedo? It was a question that would haunt her for years.

For college, she headed to the University of Kansas (go Jayhawks), where she received her undergraduate degrees in English and journalism.

After a two-year stint writing about human resources for a trade magazine in California, Flynn moved to Chicago. There she earned her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and discovered that she was way too wimpy to make it as a crime reporter.

On the other hand, she was a movie geek with a journalism degree—so she moved to New York City and joined Entertainment Weekly magazine, where she wrote happily for 10 years, visiting film sets around the world (to New Zealand for The Lord of the Rings, to Prague for The Brothers Grimm, to somewhere off the highway in Florida for Jackass: The Movie). During her last four years at EW, Flynn was the TV critic (all-time best TV show: The Wire).

Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, the literary mystery Sharp Objects, was an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain’s Dagger Awards—the first book ever to win multiple Daggers in one year. Movie rights have been sold.

Flynn’s second novel, the 2009 New York Times bestseller Dark Places, was a New Yorker Reviewers’ Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice. Movie rights have been sold, with Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Sarah’s Key) to direct.

Flynn’s third novel, GONE GIRL, is out June 2012 and you should stop reading this now and buy it immediately.

Flynn’s work has been published in twenty-eight countries. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Brett Nolan, their son, and a giant black cat named Roy. In theory she is working on her next novel. In reality she is possibly playing Ms. Pac-Man in her basement lair.

Review Breakdown
Overall: four-stars