Synopsis vis Goodreads: Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars. Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben's innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her borther's? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back? She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day... especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find. Who did massacre the Day family?
I had a hard time getting into the book the second time around, but it's a fast read and once I was more invested into the story I wanted to keep reading until I got to the end. I know the Serial podcast was based on a true crime, but in a way as I was reading Dark Places it reminded me of that. I think mainly because of the lack of investigation and obvious evidence.
The book is told through multiple points of view and switches from present day back to the day of the crime. You're going through the book with Libby as she's trying to piece together what really happened that day. You're also getting to see the actual day from Ben's point of view and Patty's point of view-- the brother and mom.
There were a couple of disturbing parts, but overall most of the book read like a crime drama and I really enjoy Flynn's writing style. Despite hypothesizing all through the book I definitely did not guess or predict the ending.
I would give this book a solid 3.5 stars!
Libby became famous as a victim. How do you think this strange fame effected her? I think the fame definitely had an impact on her, but more than the fame I think it was just what she had gone through in life-- even before the murders. She was living in an unstable environment. I had a hard time believing that she could go through 25 years without asking herself (or her brother) the questions about what really happened.
What do you think of Patty Day as a mother? Is she doing the best she can or is she making excuses for herself? I really liked Patty- I definitely was empathetic towards her and what happened in the end made me sad. Not only did she had a lot of stress and anxiety with the possibility of losing the farm, from her POV you could see how much pressure she put on herself. She made a lot of bad choices, but I think she was doing the best that she could in the state of depression she was in paired with the lack of resources and support.
Why do you think the author chose to set the murders on a farm? What images and themes does the heartland and farming evoke? I truly didn't give this too much thought as I was reading... I think it was a good setting to show how desperate times really were for the Day family. It reminded me of people who have invested too much in the stock market and lost everything and their levels of desperation and guilt.
What do you believe is Diondra's motivation throughout the story? Does her relationship with Ben change him? I think she was a sad soul-- she reminded me of Krissi Cates in a way that she just really needed and craved attention from her parents. Obviously Diondra acted out in a more violent way. I think Ben was just a mixed up teenage boy looking for an escape and for someone to love. Despite how much he didn't like his mom or some of his sisters, I found it hard to believe that he was protecting Diondra for all of those years. I would have loved to have seen Diondra's point of view.
Have you read Dark Places? Are you a fan of Gillian Flynn's novels? Sharp Objects was definitely my favorite of the three.