Dark Places

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Author: Gillian Flynn

Title: Dark Places

Genre: Audio Book

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 368

Geographical Setting: Kinnakee, Kansas

Time Period:  Modern Day

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:  Libby Day is the sole survivor of the massacre of her family.  Her brother Ben, was convicted and sentenced for this brutal killing.  Since then, Libby has been subsisting on charitable contributions from sympathetic citizens, but as of today, her trust fund has run out.  Libby, a jaded, wise-cracking, world weary thirty-something, is just desperate enough to accept money for her appearance at a so-called “kill club” where wannabe detectives obsess over unsolved murders.  It’s there that she learns that the public has largely exonerated her brother and believe the murderer of her families is still at large.  Skeptical, but willing to do anything for rent money, Libby sets off reluctantly to find out who really killed her family, but as she begins unearthing the long buried memories of her past, doubts surface.  What did Libby really witness that night?  Did Ben really kill her mother and two sisters?  If not him, then who?

Subject Headings: Children of murder victims; Teenage murderers; Brothers and sisters; Crimes against family; Secret societies; Witnesses; Survival; Deception; Kansas City, Missouri; Suspense stories

Appeal:  compelling, deliberate, engrossing, detailed, dramatic, evocative, intriguing, lifelike, realistic, vivid, authentic, complex, layered, strong language, chilling, dangerous, gritty, hard-edged

3 terms that best describe this book:  chilling, engrossing, dangerous

Similar Works/Authors:

3 Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

Modern Satanism: Anatomy of a Radical Subculture by Chris Mathews: Midwestern fear of Satanism was a driving force behind Ben’s conviction.  This book will familiarize you with the movements of the subculture today.

Murder by Family: The Incredible True Story of a Son’s Treachery and a Father’s Forgiveness by Kent Whitaker:  Interested in reading more about family massacres?  This account of family murder and the consequences will resonate with fans of Gillian Flynn’s novel.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: This chilling tale of murder in the rural Midwest will fascinate lovers of true crime.  Like Dark Places, In Cold Blood brings both the criminals and the victims to life.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon: This novel deals with child abduction and the search for the truth.  Like Libby, Rhonda is the only witness of the crime and must deal with her guilt as she helps discover who is responsible for the kidnapping.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold:  This moving portrait of a family dealing with the fallout after a murder will remind readers of Flynn’s parallel story in Dark Places.

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult: If you enjoyed Flynn’s depiction of a family in crisis, then you will find similar things to love about Picoult’s compelling tale of a crumbling family facing life and death issues.

Name:  Bethany Bates

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