Twenty-five years after her fifteen-year-old brother Ben supposedly murdered her mother and two sisters, Libby Day is struggling and at a point in her life when she must find a way to bring money into the coffers. The fund that sustained her after the tragedies has dried up, and Libby flails about, seeking a solution.
And what she finds is a group of individuals devoted to proving her brother was innocent–and willing to pay for mementos and information.
Libby was seven years old when the murders happened, and the only survivor. Her testimony put her brother behind bars, but now she is wondering if things happened the way she believed it did. She reexamines the “darkplaces” to figure things out. And starts meeting with people to find out more, too. She also dreams about the events, with different scenarios each time. And she recalls how life as the orphan has changed everything for her, too.
The setting is a Kansas farm in a small town filled with gossipy, mean-spirited individuals seemingly bent on shunning the Day family long before the tragedy struck.
In alternating narratives, Dark Places: A Novel takes us back to 1985, to learn bits and pieces of that fateful day from the mother, Patty Day, and from Ben, the alleged perpetrator. As more is revealed, we begin to have our own doubts…and as we follow Libby’s first-person narration in the present, watching her accumulate data, the questions begin to grow until we wonder if there will ever be any definitive answers.
All of the characters are flawed individuals, but beneath the surface of each, there is a hint of how they could be redeemed. If only…
What mysterious person did Patty Day meet that night? Why is Ben so secretive about the events, and why is he denying having a girlfriend named Diondra? What, if anything, did his friend Trey have to do with the tragic events?
Like a tornado sweeping across the flatlands, the events come full circle until finally the reader knows it all. And there were definitely some surprises. Another unputdownable read from Gillian Flynn. Five stars.