Dark Places: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dark Places is a novel that flashes from the present to the early 1980's as Libby tries to piece together the horrific crime scene of her family's murder. The only child (and the youngest in her family at the tender age of seven) to escape what was billed as The Satan Sacrifice of Kinakee Kansans'; the murder of her mother and sisters by her brother Ben, following which she was interviewed by child psychologists, therapists, attorneys, etc and formed memories of the evening that didn't jive with the sequence of events.
Now a woman in her thirties, and deeply cynical, she begins retracing the steps of her family that led up to that evening by contacting those thought to be involved, her dead-beat dad and 'fans' of her brother, members of "The Kill Club", who desperately believe that Ben is innocent.
Libby finds that she's less able to toe the party line that she has for the last 20+ years as she discovers evidence that was not entered and facts that don't support her brother's conviction. The narration by Ben and their mother Patty are particularly chilling because it just kept hammering home that they loved each other. The reader learns early on that the family was struggling financially with the debt collector's breathing down Patty's neck due mainly to the gambling and poor decisions of her ex-husband, who has driven her ancestral farm into the ground. Additionally, Ben was always make to feel by his fly-by-night father that he wasn't manly enough, and left something to be desired or something to prove.
When a bad girl comes to town, Ben is instantly flattered that she likes him, and falls in with a dangerous crowd, drug-use, satanic rituals and other dangerous behaviors.
I will not spoil, because there are a couple of twists that were very unexpected, and this is one murder mystery that NOBODY will solve from the first paragraph.