Posted by: maureenc | January 8, 2016

Dark, grim and gruesome!

I don’t normally include  book reviews on my blog but I had to make mention of the novel my Book Club read for January :

“Dark Places”  by Gillian Flynn


I think I would be honest in saying that I’m a voracious reader, and generally enjoy most genres, with the emphasis being on mystery and historical fiction.

The blurb for DARK PLACES , declared that it was a mystery novel, published in 2009 and dealing with class issues in rural America , intense poverty and the Satanic cult hysteria that swept the US in the 1980s.  How true that is, I don’t know as I’m neither an American citizen, nor have I ever lived there.


I found the book to be dark, grim and unbearably gruesome. The praise heaped on the book was rather over whelming to me, and the comment I felt most comfortable with came from  Big Issue, Scotland  : “Dripping with ominous atmosphere, complex psychology and moral ambiguity”.

This is not a novel that can be read easily or for enjoyment. In fact it was only because it was my book club’s January read that I persevered in completing it.

The basic plot line was “interesting”……..the youngest daughter in a single-mother-of-four-family is the survivor of the family slaughter, and then testifies that her fifteen year old brother is the killer. He is sentenced to long term imprisonment.  Twenty five years later, facts emerge to make Libby question everything she’s ever known about her family’s murders.

I could find no sympathy in me for the character, despite her horrific history and I found her to  be selfish, grasping  and lacking in humanity towards others.

However the “flashback” chapters told from the perspective of the son and his mother were factors that kept me reading to the end, when all I wanted to do was cast aside the book and find something more enjoyable.

The mystery is finally solved after the author had laid out all the pieces of the puzzle. YES! I was surprised by the result, but it didn’t cause me to like the book any better.

Certainly Dark Places was not like any other run of the mill murder-mystery and not my choice of reading matter at any time, particularly as holiday reading. This is the second book of Gillian Flynn’s that I have read; the other being “Gone Girl” and I can safely say that I am no fan of hers.



  1. Thanks for the book review Maureen. I love reading books also and love a good mystery.

  2. HI,, that one sounds more scary, than I want, but just read one that I could not put down either, Jonathon Stone, Moving Day. Yes, it is a psychological thriller also, about a Jewish man and his wife moving from the East Coast to Calif. in their 70’s. Probably based on some truth. about a man that immigrates to the U.S.A. and thru hard work makes good. and then what brings back all his past as a child in Germany. I think this book will stay in my mind for awhile. I bought it on my Kindle.
    Good to keep in touch,,, hugs, vivian

  3. I think I would have opted out of that one! When I was in a reading group we decided up front that we would give a couple of genres a miss, but here were only 6 of us.

  4. There are ten in our group and I have heard on the grapevine that one woman who has opted out of reading books the majority thought were “great” declared that it was a marvellous read. It will be interesting to hear her review! 😉

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