Narrator: Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins, Rebecca Lowman
on May 05, 2009
Length: 13 hours, 44 minutes
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Also by this author: Gone Girl
I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.
The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.
As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.
‘The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty – we all have it.’
Libby Day is the sole survivor of “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas” when her mother and two older sisters were murdered with an ax. She was only 7 years old. After accusing her brother Ben of committing the crime he is sent to prison with no real possibility of ever being released. Twenty-four years later Libby finds herself struggling financially after the trust fund to which people donated to help her cause has dwindled down to nothing. ‘The Kill Club’ is a group of individuals obsessed with particular crimes from over the years and there are several enthusiasts who are obsessed with not only the crime but of the innocence of her brother, Ben. Deciding she’ll resort to anything just as long as she gets paid she begins investigating the deaths of her family and realizes that the money isn’t the only incentive; she truly wants to know what happened that night she was left an orphan.
Dark Places was a fantastically written thriller that was thoroughly engrossing. The audiobook has 3 separate narrators and each do a fantastic job of encouraging readers to continue this mesmerizing tale. The story alternates between snippets of Libby’s investigation (told in first person) and the rehashing of past events (told in third person from the POV of Libby’s mother and her brother, Ben) so that we’re slowly able to fit together the jumbled pieces of the puzzle. Did Ben truly commit the crime? Was he associated with the Devil? Was it actually their dead beat father? Or someone completely different? This is an incredibly alluring story that I could not put down. While clues are given and you think you’re starting to formulate, nothing is as it seems. That’s an easy enough statement to make in regards to any mystery thriller story but the answer to this one is truly unpredictable from anything I was expecting.
‘I am, I guess, depressed. I guess I’ve been depressed for about twenty-four years. I can feel a better version of me somewhere in there – hidden behind a liver or attached to a bit of spleen within my stunted, childish body – a Libby that’s telling me to get up, do something, grow up, move on. But the meanness usually wins out.’
Libby is a wonderfully jaded and emotionally hardened character that I couldn’t help but love. She’s perfectly imperfect and her flawed and bitter nature completely drew me to her. She’s earned every right to those emotions though and then some. Dark Places is full of extremely unlikable characters though and a few in particular did things that were completely unfathomable. The issues presented throughout this novel are often hard to stomach and were incredibly gruesome and disturbing. In specific there are Satanic animal sacrifices, excessive teenage drug use and teenage pregnancy and of course the less than pleasant mass murder by ax.
Dark Places is a prime example of simple choices that can have a catastrophic domino effect on anything and everything from that point on. Peeling back the layers of this multifaceted tale of suspense is a total thrill-ride, as long as you can stomach the terror this story is drenched in.