When I’d finished reading the book I reviewed last week, I had that feeling you get when you finish a book and feel a bit like “oh, what should I read now…” While searching for another book to read, I stumbled upon Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and thought I’d give it a go. I bought Gone Girl ages ago, but then watched the movie – which sort of ruined the book, so I didn’t bother to read it. I figured though, that if Gone Girl was that good, perhaps Flynn would have done well with her other books.
I was not wrong.
This book is nothing short of fantastic. Seriously, I could not put it down. S has been having trouble sleeping lately, and we’ve ended up watching The Snowman at 3am most nights. Usually I would just put my head under a pillow while the dvd is on, and try to get back to sleep – but this week I’ve found that once S is settled, I’ve grabbed my Kindle and ended up reading long after S has gone back to sleep. I could not leave it be; I couldn’t put it down mid-chapter, and then when I got to a new chapter I would think “I’ll just read a little bit…”
This book is about Libby, a 32 year old woman whose family were murdered in their home when she was seven. Her testimony put her older brother Ben into prison for the murders, and there he has stayed for 25 years. Libby gets through life by determinedly not thinking about her family or that night; she’s blocked as much as possible out of her head. But then she finds out that actually, most other people don’t believe her brother is guilty. She ends up doing her own version of detective work, trying to figure out what really happened that night.
Between chapters told from Libby’s perspective in the present day, there are chapters through her mother’s eyes, and through her brother’s eyes. They begin on the morning of that fateful day and show what went on with both of them.
There were so many points in this book where I thought, oh, I know who did it now or oh no, Ben really did do it or oh, she’ll never find out what happened – what a rubbish ending. I was wrong on all counts; when it finally got to the bit where that night unfolded, I was almost beside myself. I was genuinely guessing until the very last minute.
I began the book reading Libby’s chapters, thinking all the evidence pointed to her brother; very quickly there turned out to be numerous possible alternative suspects and I feel like Flynne played me like a fiddle; every time one of the potential candidates came up I thought “oh yeah, it was him/her…” only to be proved wrong a few pages later.
For the last week I have been going to bed early so as to read some more. Last night I bounded up the stairs to bed and realised: oh. I’ve finished it. The disappointment I felt at that moment is proof of just how great this book is.
Thanks for reading.