DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn knows which buttons to push to keep us glued to the page. To start, she never minces words and gets straight to the horrible parts…

My brother slaughtered my family when I was seven. My mom, two sisters, gone: bang bang, chop chop, choke choke.

And because we can depend on her direct aim we know more terror is on its way.

Flynn’s books have an attitude like Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction, “I’m not going to be ignored.” This sums up the essence of Dark Places’s protagonist Libby Day. Libby is the car wreck that creates the gapers block. And even though we’re self-conscious and embarrassed about looking at the damage and the wounded, we must.

Reading a novel by Gillian Flynn is a master class in writing. Lesson 1-Never hold back. By telling the truth upfront a writer makes room for more twists and obstacles on the backend. 2-Characters don’t have to be likable, but readers need to feel empathy.

I was not a loveable child, and I’ve grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.

If that statement doesn’t reel in your heart or raise your curiosity, maybe you have meanness “as real as an organ” just like Libby Day.

All of these gripping moments that happen in the first five pages (don’t worry there is plenty more) bring us to another writing gem—Skip the boring parts. Readers may refer to Dark Places in a lot of different ways, but no one will call it boring. This is a slump free novel. Each chapter is a tight story of its own and together they comprise Libby’s life, a character impossible to forget. Isn’t that what every writer strives for—memorable characters in extraordinary circumstances?

Dark Places is more than a blueprint for how to craft a bestseller. Gillian Flynn has a gift for uncovering the nasty underbelly of life and exposing every cockroach in the goo. Her stories and characters make us question our own motives, baggage, and the lies we live with.

Find out if you’re afraid of Dark Places.