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Dark Places
Cover of Dark Places
Dark Places
A Novel
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl, and the basis for the major motion picture starring Charlize Theron

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.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl, and the basis for the major motion picture starring Charlize Theron

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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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.1
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Libby DayNow

    I 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...

About the Author-
  • GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl, and the New York Times bestsellers Dark Places and Sharp Objects. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, she lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 23, 2009
    Edgar-finalist Flynn’s second crime thriller tops her impressive debut, Sharp Objects
    . When Libby Day’s mother and two older sisters were slaughtered in the family’s Kansas farmhouse, it was seven-year-old Libby’s testimony that sent her 15-year-old brother, Ben, to prison for life. Desperate for cash 24 years later, Libby reluctantly agrees to meet members of the Kill Club, true crime enthusiasts who bicker over famous cases. She’s shocked to learn most of them believe Ben is innocent and the real killer is still on the loose. Though initially interested only in making a quick buck hocking family memorabilia, Libby is soon drawn into the club’s pseudo-investigation, and begins to question what exactly she saw—or didn’t see—the night of the tragedy. Flynn fluidly moves between cynical present-day Libby and the hours leading up to the murders through the eyes of her family members. When the truth emerges, it’s so twisted that even the most astute readers won’t have predicted it.

  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2009
    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 (2006).

    On a January night in 1985, Michelle Day, ten, was strangled, her nine-year-old sister, Debby, killed with an ax, and their mother, Patty, stabbed, hacked and shot to death in the family farmhouse. Weeks after jumping out a window and running off in the Kansas snow, Libby Day, seven, testified that her brother Ben, 15, had killed the family, and he was sent to prison for life amid accusations of sex and Satanism. End of story—except that now that the fund well-wishers raised for Libby has run dry, she has to raise some cash pronto, and her family history turns once more into an ATM. A letter from Lyle Wirth promises her a quick $500 to attend the annual convention of the Kill Club, whose members gather to trade theories about unsolved crimes. When self-loathing Libby ("Draw a picture of my soul, it'd be a scribble with fangs") realizes that none of the club members believes her story, she reluctantly agrees to earn some more cash by digging up the leading players: Ben, whose letters she's never opened; their long-departed father Runner, who's as greedy and unscrupulous as Libby; Krissi Cates, the little girl who'd spent the day before the murders accusing Ben of molesting her; and Ben's rich, sleazy girlfriend Diondra Wertzner. 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. Only the climax, which is incredible in both good ways and bad, is a letdown.

    For most of the wild story's running time, however, every sentence crackles with enough baleful energy to fuel a whole town through the coldest Kansas winter.

    (COPYRIGHT (2009) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2009
    Once in a while a book comes along that puts a new spin on an old idea. More than 40 years ago, Truman Capote (with "In Cold Blood") took readers inside the Clutter farmhouse in Holcomb, KS, to show them what it was like to walk in a killer's shoes. Flynn ("Sharp Objects") 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. In order to identify the true killer, an adult Libby Day must come to terms with the traumatic events of her childhood, when her mother and two sisters were slaughtered. Although Flynn sometimes struggles with the large cast of characters she has amassed, each with his or her own set of volatile foibles, and complicates matters by dealing with them in both the present and the past, the tight plotting and engaging characters carry the reader over the few rough patches that appear. For all public libraries.Nancy McNicol, Hamden P.L., CT

    Copyright 2009 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The New York Times A 2009 Favorite Fiction Pick by The Chicago Tribune

    "[A] nerve-fraying thriller."
  • Entertainment Weekly "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."
  • Cosmopolitan "[A] gripping thriller."
  • Portland Oregonian "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."
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A Novel
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