Monthly Archives: February 2015

#1. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

dark-places-book-cover“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.” – Libby Day

Dark Places┬áis the story of Libby Day, sole survivor of the Kinnakee Kansas Massacre. There’s usually a variation somehow including the words “satanic” or “farmhouse” when discussed in schoolyard chants or sensationalist newspaper articles. Libby Day’s mother and two sisters were brutally murdered in the wee morning hours of January 3, 1985, and her older brother Ben is in prison for the crime. Eight-year-old Libby escaped by climbing out a window and hiding in the snow until dawn, losing some toes and part of a finger in the process. Now, Libby is in her early 30s and all the money from well-wishers is drying up. Unable to function normally since the massacre, she’s desperate for cash so she won’t have to work in an office with human beings, whom she seems to roundly despise.

Enter Lyle, member of the mysterious K.C. — Kill Club. He has an offer for Libby if she comes to one of their meetings and is willing to revisit the horrible night her family was destroyed. Did Ben really butcher their family, or were stranger things afoot that day in Kinnakee? Needing the money and hoping beyond hope she can salvage some kind of relationship with Ben, Libby sets out on the path to discover what really went wrong in one bad day.

I really enjoyed this book. I listened to the audiobook version (read by Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell, and Mark Deakins) with Joe when we were driving to and from the Chicago area last weekend to attend a wedding. (I made the joke around midnight in Missouri that listening to a story about a Midwestern axe murder that occurred IN JANUARY was probably not the *wisest* thing to do for our emotional states, but neither of us had any nightmares.)

If you’re into mystery and split narratives (told by multiple POVs between January 2, 1985 and the present-ish day), this might be right up your alley. I especially appreciated the raw, oddly endearing characterization of Libby: a mean, nearly feral woman whose heart was broken when she was 8 and has refused to ever fully put it back together.

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2014 Round-Up

Another year has come and gone, and unfortunately I didn’t hit my target of 26 books. I’m not incredibly surprised, though I am disappointed I didn’t get to some of the books I had set aside for the year. It was another moving-across-the-country year, coming back to the Oklahoma City area from Santa Fe, and that process wound up eating a lot of time. I also got back into my comic series this past fall, so I’ve spent much more time with ink pens than novels the past four months!

2014 Favorites:

  • NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
  • Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  • Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

My hope for 2015 is a solid 25 books. Wish me luck!

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