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Chris High books reviewed

Dark Places - Gillian Flynn

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (14 May 2009)
ISBN-10: 0297851578
ISBN-13: 978-0297851578
May 14, 2009

Image: Front cover of the book 'Dark Places' written by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places, dark deeds and dark thoughts. These are the things that make up Gillian Flynn’s second novel and in the hands of this author, whose previous outing, Sharp Objects, deservedly won so many awards back in 2006, all of them act like a surge of electricity pumping through the fingers to switch pages in a hurry.



Libby Day was just seven years old when her older brother massacred her family while she hid in a cupboard. Her evidence helped put him away. Ever since then she has been drifting, surviving for over twenty years on the proceeds of the 'Libby Day fund'. But now the money is running out and Libby is desperate. When she is offered $500 to do a guest appearance, she feels she has to accept. But this is no ordinary gathering. The Kill Club is a group of true-crime obsessive’s who share information on notorious murders, and they think her brother, Ben, is innocent.

It is 2 January 1985 - the day of the murders. Ben is a social misfit, ground down by the small-town farming community in which he lives. His family is extremely poor, and his father Runner is violent, gambles and disappears for months on end. But Ben does have a girlfriend - a brooding heavy metal fan called Diondra. Through her, Ben becomes involved with drugs and the dark arts. When the town suddenly turns against him, his thoughts turn black. But is he capable of murder?

If there is one complaint about this book it is in the fact that it ends and, in its favour, even this is done with such style, such energy, that it can be forgiven for doing so. Libby’s character is quite repellent, although never in a way in which the reader cannot fully sympathise or engage with her, whereas Ben is just a mixed up kid struggling to come to terms with everything all at once in such a way that everyone will recognise whilst all the time whispering the “There But For The Grace Of God Go I” mantra as a means of warding of evil.

The settings are vivid, the action completely in-your-face and the dialogue is beguiling. The very fact that there really are clubs around the world who do contact serial killers in the hope of someday marrying them, only adds to the scenario that Flynn has created, making it even more disturbing.

Buy this book. Buy this book for you, your friends and the friends of friends. And buy it for your enemies so they might one day become your friends, because they’re sure to love you forever for doing so.

A truly fantastic read if ever there was one.




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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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