Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

2009 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

2009 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

After reading two other books by Gillian Flynn, I decided to wrap up the recommended books by her.

This book begins with the following paragraph, a schoolyard rhyme from 1985:

The days were a clan that mighta lived long
But Ben Day’s head got screwed on wrong
That boy caved dark Satan’s power
So he killed his family in one nasty hour

Little Michelle he strangled in the night
Then chopped up Debby: a bloddy sight
Mother Patty he saved for last
Blew off her head with a shotgun blast

Baby Libby somehow survived
But to live through that ain’t much a life

This was the setting for the book. It is about a girl, named Libby who was left all alone, moved from house to house growing up and never having any true family members by her side after a terrible murder. Her brother, Ben, was accused of killing two of his sisters and mother since the day of the murders. He also was accused of child molestation of a girl in Libby’s grade that same weekend. Ben was left to rot in prison for his errors. Little does miss Libby know, there are a few pieces of the puzzle she never knew from before.

Libby, short on cash from not having a job and running out of pity money, finds a piece of fan mail offering for her to visit their club for a fee. She accepts the invitation to visit this ‘club’ not expecting anything but a few people wanting to hear her tail of survival. Instead, she finds herself at a “Kill Club” meeting where tens to hundreds of people gather to discuss the happenings of murders and missing people reports across the country. One group in particular has focused on her family’s murder story for the past 24 years and finally found Libby to contact about it. As most people would react to such a gathering, Libby did not want to be a part of this at first, but she was quickly convinced when she realized the money people would pay for her to simply talk to people about the night the murders occurred as well as pawn off items to the members.

Libby had a two main suspects in her mind:
1. Ben- her brother that she claimed was the murderer in court
2. Runner- her step dad who continually needed money from their family

Will Libby discover the truth behind the disastrous night? Who committed this heinous crime? Visit the spoiler page to see what will happen throughout this story.

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Spoiler- Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

2009 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

2009 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

*Note – This post continues the writing from the Book Summaries page. Please read for previous details.*

Since this was such a long book compared to the others, I will just jump right into this.

First, Libby went to visit Ben in prison to see his side of the story. After 24 years of not seeing his sister, Ben was excited to talk to her and just to see her in general. Libby came with her prerogative though of asking questions to get to the bottom of this. She left knowing a few things: Ben was innocent of the murders, he had a tattoo of a ‘olly’ or ‘ally’ on his arm and that he was comfortable being in jail for something else he has done.

Libby though, but didn’t hope she was right, that this tattoo was the name of one of the girls from when he was claimed as a child molester. Maybe he was actually dating one of them or serious with them and their father’s went to kill her family for Ben’s mistake. She contacted Krissi, the main girl claimed of being molested. She admitted, after a few days, that she made the whole thing up. It started as a silly game with her friends and turned into a big fiasco. Krissi said that she admitted to her parents that night that it was a misunderstanding and her mother and father were so ashamed they tried to ignore her. Well, at least the child molestation charges were cleared, but what about these murders?

Runner, Libby’s step father, was the next stop on her quest to find the truth. He was living in a sewage dump and made nothing of his life .He owed a lot of people money due to his drug dealing business and was last seen by the family the day of the murders begging for money. Libby quickly realized Runner was too dumb to commit such a crime and actually get away with it so she decided to ask him a couple of questions instead while she was there. Runner said that he saw Ben with two friends, Trey and Diondria the night of the murders. Ben secretly asked him for cash to support Diondria with since she was pregnant and they were going to run away to escape people finding out. Due to Runner’s poor money streak, this was not an option for Ben, but this story gave Libby two more suspects.

Diondria was found in a search engine as a missing persons report. She went missing a few weeks after the night of the murders and hasn’t been seen since. This seemed like a dead-end so Libby pursued Trey. Trey owned a farm supply company and was easy to talk to about the night of. He confirmed that Diondria was indeed pregnant but hasn’t seen her since the murders unraveled. He did mention that she liked to go by secret names and that she probably did escape and live under a different name. One, Trey mentioned, that she liked to go by was Polly Palm. This sparked a memory of the tattoo on Ben’s arm. Diondria was alive and living under the name Polly.

After searching online, Libby found one result for the name Polly Palm. She arrived at the door greeted by Diondria excited to meet Libby after all this time. Diondria had a daughter named Crystal who was eager to meet Libby as well. After talking for a while, Libby started joking around about how her sister, Michelle, would have loved to have known about this pregnancy since she was the gossip queen back then. Both Diondria and Crystal acted very suspicious after that and suddenly Libby was knocked out by a cast iron. As she slowly came back to, she tried to escape while the two were talking about guns and killing Libby for finding out their secret.

Libby got away after spending the night in the cold and finally made it to a police station. After confessing that Diondria killed Michelle, another development occurred. Libby was informed that her mother, Patty, signed a contract for a man to kill her that night of the murders. Patty was broke, they were losing their farm, and she thought the future seemed bleak for their children. She figured this is the only thing she could give her children: insurance money. While Patty was being murdered, Debby caught a glance and the man did not want any witnesses. He spur of the moment killed Debby as well.

Therefore after 24 years, Deondria went to jail for murdering Michelle, Debby was murdered by the man who arranged the death of Patty and Ben finally was released from prison.

Now if you saw any of this coming, I think you should receive therapy or stop reading murder mysteries. I think this book is well worth the read even though it is longer compared to others by Flynn. What did you think?