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.

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?

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

2007 Thriller by Gillian Flynn

2007 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

I chose to read this book after reading Gone Girl. I was so immersed in the first novel by Flynn that I figured it was her writing styles that kept me glued to my seat. In fact, this was far from the case.

Sharp Objects begins with a journalist, Camille, located in Chicago that is asked to take on an investigation in her home town, Wind Gap. This included the murder of a little girl and also another missing child report. Her boss, Curry, asked her to stay at home to save money and so that she won’t get lonely while talking about murders all day. However, Camille hasn’t had the best relations with her family previously so going home was enough of a challenge for her on top of reporting on these occurrences.  Clearly Curry nor Camille knew the position that she was being put into.

Camille moved away from home years ago to escape her childhood hometown. She never met her biological father and her mother remarried soon after. Camille’s mother and step-father had their own two children, who easily seemed to replace Camille and make her invisible.  One sister, Marian, died at a very young age due to illnesses which left Camille always thinking about her and missing her favorite sister. It never says in particular what this illness is but I was drawn to think this meant cancer. The other sister, now 13, never grew up with Camille and they didn’t even recognize each other when they ran into each other in the town.

Camille has been an avid cutter since high school. She continually got urges to carve words into her skin using any and all sharp objects she found around her house. After years of abusing her body, every inch of skin is covered besides the middle of her back and her face. She feels a thrill from cutting open her skin when she feels pain or anger in her life. The words resemble how she feels around her family and friends and all lead to her not being satisfied with her life. Currently, Camille has been clean of cutting for a few months after being in a rehab center for about a year.

As for the Wind Gap murders, Ann Nash, 9, was the first child to be murdered. She was found in a river bank with marks that she was strangled and also had all of her teeth ripped out. She was last seen biking around the town and was supposedly snatched from the street.  After a few days of Camille being in town, Natalie Keene, the 10-year-old missing child, was found by an older couple and Camille tucked between two buildings on the main street in town. She was also found strangled and missing all of her teeth which led the force to finalize that these cases of Ann and Natalie are connected.

The city thought that this must be the work of a man due to the violent acts and the logic that a woman could never rip the teeth out of a child.

Who will be accused of these murders? Will someone be punished? Visit my spoilers page to see how it ends and to discuss your thoughts.

Spolier- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

2007 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

2007 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

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

Camille was having a tough time trying to interview people around the town at first since no one wanted Wind Gap to have a bad reputation and to be known for murders. She spent a lot of time at local bars or just hanging out with friends from high school. These sources, without knowing, continually improved Camille’s research.

One source, a little boy Natalie’s age, swore that he saw a woman kidnap Natalie right out of the woods when she went missing. No one on the police force listened to this since he was so young and there was no proof.

The town mainly blamed Natalie’s older brother. They came from a different town recently and he didn’t know many people. Wind Gap all thought he was a trouble maker and tried to pin evidence on him.

Camille’s sister was a part of a bullying group of girls that continually liked to ruin people’s lives and bring others down. The girls always got drunk and high with the older crowd and the police force never turned an eye. One night out, Camille went out with her sister, who was only 13. They went to a party for high school aged kids and Camille ended up doing a lot of drugs supplied by Amma. The two finally began their bonding by being under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

The night after, Camille and her sister woke up with scrapes and hangovers from their walk back the night before. Their mother stayed by their sides the following days tending to their needs under the impression that they each had food poisoning.

Camille finally noticed during the days of pills that it was the pills that made her continually sick. She went to the hospital where her sister Marian died and found in the files that a nurse suspected their mother was poisoning her the whole time. Camille then notified her friend on the police force who searched their house the following day. They found proof of about six different drugs in her that induced vomiting, caused dizziness and could knock out a horse.

While searching the house, the cops found the pliers that were used to yank out the two little girls’ teeth as well as DNA matches for each girl. Camille’s mother was taken away very soon after and put in prison.

Camille then continued back to her life in Chicago, but this time she had her sister Amma under her sleeve. Anna met a girl that she brought home a lot and soon became her best friend. A few days down the road, the new best friend was found murdered in an alley in Chicago with a few teeth missing, not all.

Camille checked right away and her mother was still locked up at home. As she arrived at her apartment in Chicago, Camille found the toy house that Amma always played with and noticed something peculiar about the master bedroom with ivory floors; the floor was completely made of teeth.

Therefore, Amma was the one that killed off these little girls one by one with her army of bullies. Camille’s mother still was charged with the murder of her child, Marian, and for drugging her children continually throughout their lives.

Not the ending I would expect, but it was a great way to end the book. What do you think?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2012 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

2012 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

I chose to read Gone Girl since they were filming it in Cape Girardeau (where I received my undergraduate degree).

This book is interesting in how it switches authors each chapter. It starts with the writer being Nick Dunne. His entries are in chronological order from the day that his wife went missing until the end of the book. Nick’s chapters are very simple to follow in this manner. He grew up in Missouri with his family and moved out to New York to start his journalism career.

The even chapters of Gone Girl are written by Amy, Nick’s wife. She grew up as the daughter of two well-known writers that created a book series all about her called Amazing Amy. Her beginning chapters are all about the past: how Nick and Amy met in New York, married and were the perfect couple everyone was envious of, moved to Missouri to help his struggling parents, and now have a struggling marriage.

Since they both lost their New York jobs from the move and Amy’s family had money from their book series, Nick opened a bar once he moved back home. Nick held a lot of responsibilities at the bar. After his mother lost the battle to cancer he still had his father’s daily struggles with memory loss and escapes from his assisted living center.  You can see how Nick could be a little high-strung.

It was the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary when Nick woke up to an empty bed. Every year for their anniversary, Amy planned a scavenger hunt to remind Nick of their love for one another and highlight inside jokes and memories they created that year. The police found the first clue, that Nick would have found that morning, and allowed him to search his scavenger hunt from Amy. In the meantime, the cops investigated the situation further, hoping it would spring up more clues on her disappearance.

The police force claimed Nick murdered his wife since he had a lack of public speaking skills and looked very awkward and happy during each interview. Nick also had no alibi from the time she went missing and the neighbor, who was the last to see Amy, claimed he constantly threatened her.

According to Nick, other suspects are high school and grade school friends of Amy that threatened her years ago. The police don’t seem to be buying his story so Nick is left town to investigate these suspects on his own.

Will we find Amy? Did someone commit a murder; if so, who? Visit the spoiler page to see how the book unravels!

Spoiler- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2012 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

2012 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

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

Nick continued his search for Amy, knowing in the back of his mind that she is still alive. He followed her scavenger hunt all around town – leading him to his father’s house, his sister’s house, Hannibal, and his office at work. All of these are places that he and Amy shared a special memory, but he also shared these places with another girl. Yes, you read that correctly. Nick Dunne had a young, hot girlfriend on the side. She was a student of his that he had been having an affair with. Suddenly, the clues make complete sense. Amy knew about the other woman and she was making him pay for it.

As Amy’s sections of the chapters progress, we quickly find out that she is actually hiding out in a cabin, paying with cash that she has saved up for the past year. She bought a car with cash and hid it out in St. Louis for months prior to her disappearance. She wanted to prove a point to Nick that she is not a woman to be messed with.

Nick investigated the past followers of Amy that she claimed stalked her and raped her. The both denied these claims and said how she tricked them into being seen as criminals. The girl who “stalked” Amy actually was talked into cutting her hair, buying new clothes and pretending to be Amy by none other than Amy herself. As for the “rapist”, she tricked him into having sex with her (consensual on both parts) and made him go harder, proceeded to make rope burn marks on her wrists and turned him in for rape. These each were supposedly because Amy wasn’t entertaining them and they were about to move on. When Nick found this out, he confidently knew she was sabotaging him for having an affair.

As time passed, Amy started to run out of money and needed some help. She called on a friend that she claimed was obsessed with her years ago. He supplied her housing in his spare lake house and vowed to keep her secret (considering she was a national news story at this point). After a few days and undying affection from her male friend, Amy was tired of the man and truly believed that Nick was sorry from the news reports she had watched. She decided to repeat history and planned a fake rape. When her and the man finished having consensual sex, Amy drugged him with sleeping pills then proceeded to stab him to death in his sleep.

After Amy came to the police, her new story became clear. Clearly Amy did not run away; she was kidnapped and raped by a man who used to be obsessed about her and she was lucky to get away. Nick was furious to see her back home after he had been portrayed as a murderer in front of the whole nation. Not long after her arrival home, Amy discovered Nick’s apologies on television were just a tactic to get her to come back home. Therefore, Amy needed another ploy to get Nick to stay with her. Years before all this started, Nick submitted sperm into the hospital to be tested since they were “having trouble” getting pregnant. Amy went to the hospital used this sperm to impregnate herself. She was officially pregnant with a baby boy which Nick had always wanted.

The two stayed together under the same roof for the pregnancy, trying to fix their marriage and learn to trust one another again. It was their sixth anniversary (iron) coming up when the book was finalizing. She asked why he was so wonderful to her and he replied “Because I feel sorry for you…Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.”

The book closed saying that Nick wanted the last word, and with reference to iron being the sixth anniversary present, I can only think that he killed her with an iron gun. Any thoughts? This ending left me wondering…