Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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4/5 stars.
Read from January 14 to 20, 2013.
ebook, 452 pages.

Another throw back review! I wanted to include this review on my blog as I have now finished reading all of three of Gillian Flynn’s novels and when I write up my last review I want to size them up against each other. Dark Places was my first book by Gillian Flynn, and is by far my favourite. Read in 2013:


 

Well, this book caught me off guard! I really didn’t enjoy the first fifty pages of this book because the characters were so despicable and miserable! I could not find any basis of relation to them and therefore didn’t really cared what happened to them. That however quickly changed.

Libby, as a child, becomes the lone survivor of a mass murder that affected her entire family. The murder was spattered over every piece of media and was a big deal for a lot of years. As a reader, you entire the story when Libby is an adult and has been living off money from the fame of her families murder. While you initially feel sorry for her it quickly fades when you realize that she is kind of despicable and has done absolutely nothing with her life. She just seemed to accept that her own brother Ben was responsible for the crime and  that he was everything the media claimed he was.  It’s not until she runs of money that she gets involved with a fanatical group of people who are interested in famous and gruesome murders that she really starts to wonder what happened and begins to unravel her past and back to that horrible day.

I believe that Flynn really captures the innate curiosity that people have with “dark places”, the unknown, as well as how far human anguish can be pushed, and the limits in which people’s wills and can be stretched. What initially kept me going through this book, was this fascination. I really wanted to know if everything that was being said about Ben was true, not because I cared about Ben or Libby at the moment, but rather I wanted to actually envision a person that was legitimately capable of performing such a murder and I wanted to know as much about the inner workings of this person as much as possible. As the story continued to unfold I did find myself beginning to feel empathy for the characters, and that, mixed with this curiosity made for one hell of a dynamite book.

This novel is what the counterpart to a true crime novel would legitimately look like if it were written honestly. The true story, not the Hollywood sob story, of a victim of a horrendous crime; the remains of a broken human being that has never moved on and refused to accept her past. This is Libby. When Libby really started to actually deal with her horrifying past, is really when the novel starts to kick off and the ending is so rewarding after reading about how lifeless and miserable of a person she was. I found that in the end, this book is truly about redemption and forgiveness, not just of others or what has happened but forgiving ones self.

Beyond all that though, this novel is a killer mystery! I thought I had it somewhat figured who the killer was, though I wasn’t sure of the motive at the time, I was so stunned with what actually unfolded and the series of events the brought it all about. Wow!

Highly recommended for mystery lovers and those who like psychological thrillers! I look forward to picking up her other novels.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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3/5 stars.
ebook, 434 pages.
Read from January 06 to 15, 2015.

Gone Girl, is probably Gillian Flynn’s bestseller. While this book isn’t any less twisted than her other novels, this one has been made into a motion picture and it has a level of crazy that people are intrigued by.  Flynn has an amazing knack to write about some very twisted and mysterious plots, making her one of the most popular and most read mystery/thriller authors around right now.

Nick and Amy Dunne are about to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary when Amy suddenly goes missing. After the couple both suffer lay-offs, they move to Nick’s hometown to be closer to his ailing mother. The move was not one that Amy wanted which just adds to the tension of their fumbling marriage. Things were not always that way with the two of them however. While Amy comes from a family of some money, thanks to a series of children’s books that were written about her by her parents titled “Amazing Amy”,  her parents have been reckless with the money and found themselves in debt and are unable to assist the couple. When Amy goes missing, fingers start to point towards Nick, especially since things had been so tense before her disappearance. His demeanor with the press and police doesn’t help either as he appears cold and nonchalant about his missing wife. Did Nick do something horrible to his wife? Or is it one of the Amy’s crazed book fan stalkers? The end result, I assure you, is unlike anything you could have imagined.

Amy and Nick are not particularly likable characters, a trait which Flynn is quite adept in applying with her other novels as well, yet she seems to be able to keep her readers curious enough about her peculiar characters that they continue on. I found that when I read Dark Places, I eventually came to really enjoy the lead characters and I was rooting for them by the end, however in this novel, I never came to like Nick or Amy, which is why I probably enjoyed this novel less. However, in typical Flynn fashion, I was intrigued enough to continue on. Nick is self-centered and emotionless and Amy is a bit of a snob, however, it’s still hard to watch their blossoming and seemingly perfect love dissipate so harshly just before Amy’s disappearance. Nick also does something pretty despicable, which I won’t spoil for you, which set me off of him for good.

The ending of the book is the embodiment of twisted. I imagine Flynn just relishing in these perfectly wacko scenarios. You may not approve of the characters but you can’t deny the perfect calamity of the ending and feel some sort of weird satisfaction with it. I think this is the reason why Flynn is as popular as she it. She knows how interested and curious people are with the realm of the weird, borderline insane, or dark aspects of the human mind. I think the reason we are so intrigued is that deep down we know that we are all capable of doing some pretty messed up things, and what’s scarier, is that we could find a way to valid them too.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel, though in my opinion it didn’t compare to Dark Places. It’s a sassy, psychological mystery-thriller that is sure to appeal to almost any reader. Now I just have to read Sharp Objects and I can pick my favourite!

Lust (Lust, Money and Murder, #1) by Mike Wells

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ebook, 106 pages.
Read on October 21, 2014.
4/5 stars.

This was one of those books that I definitely judged by the cover at first and admittedly  I wasn’t initially intrigued by it but boy, am I glad I decided to pick this one up anyway!

This book is the first in a three part series and follows the head strong character, Elaine Brogan. In her teens, Elaine wanted to become a model and her father, while struggling for money is anxious to help her. Without knowing it Elaine loses her money to a scam of a modeling agency and when she goes to fight for her money back it’s given to her a bit too easily. The money ends up being fake and ends up getting her father in jail. Now parentless, Elaine deals with her turmoil by deciding that she is going to be come a federal agent in order to serve justice to the man that put her father in jail.

The book goes over the trials that Elaine has to get through in order to become an agent. She ignores her social life and the romance that normally follows young people her age just so she can out all of her focus into being an agent.  Shortly after becoming an agent she is transferred to Bulgaria where she meets her new partner, Nick. He is funny, charming and attractive and Elaine finds her emotions finally be stirred after ignoring them for so long. However as the story unfolds, she is finds there is a lot more going on with the assignment that she and Nick are working on than she first realized and now has to make some very difficult decisions.

Elaine is awesome. She is tough, resilient, tactful, assertive and very smart. Elaine’s story grabbed me right from the beginning and I was so anxious to know what happened next that I read the book in one sitting. The book does end in a bit of a cliff hanger but it’s a brilliant ploy by the author to get the reader to read the remaining books in the series.

If you love mystery or spy novels than I would highly recommend picking up this quick read!

Click here to get a free copy of this book from the author’s website!