“Dark Places” is a classic whodunit

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If you are at all like me, when you finished the book “Gone Girl”, you wanted more—more of the craziness, more of the deception and more of the eloquently written phrases.

While Gillian Flynn has yet to tell us what happens to Nick and Amy Dunne after the book ends, she did write two other books before all the “Gone Girl” hype that some say are just as good, if not better.

My mission—which I’ve chosen to accept—is to read both of her other books and try my best not to compare them to her crazy book I love and will probably always hold on a pedestal.

I decided to read “Dark Places” first. In a few months the film adaptation will be hitting the big screen, and I prefer to read the book before I see the movie. I had heard a lot about “Dark Places” before reading it.

Over and over again, for instance, I heard that it was really dark. Let me start out by saying that is a hundred percent accurate. This book is not for anyone who can’t handle a little grit in their stories. It’s dark at its core. Even the title has the word “dark” in it. Hopefully you get the point, it isn’t your run of the mill crime story. It’s that, and then some.

Like many crime novels, there’s not much I can say that won’t give away key elements in the book, but I can give you a very surface level synopsis.

When Libby Day was seven years old, she survived something horrible. One January night her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered in what would later be called The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas. Only two members of the Day family survived—Libby and her older brother Ben. He was convicted of murder, and Libby believed (enough to testify against him in court) that he was the murderer.

Twenty five years after the crimes, though, she meets a young man named Lyle who is about to change everything. He takes her to group called the Kill Club, which is essentially a group of people obsessed with famous murders.3661aa26d6305260d14a26d652d06b42

In the case of Ben Day, however, the group’s only purpose is to free him from prison, believing he’d been wrongly accused. Trying to make some money and believing whole heartedly that Ben killed her family, Libby digs into an investigation to find the truth. It sends her on epic journey to face her past and face the truth. What happens next is a series of incidents that make the reader question every character in the book.

This was a fun book to read regardless of how dark it got. “Dark Places” takes you on a ride from start to finish. It is a classic whodunit story with modern day twists.

Over the summer I read “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote and was completely fascinated by it. While I could never compare the writing of Capote’s epic classic nonfiction story to a new age piece of fiction, I can say that people who loved Capote’s work will probably be intrigued by this too. Just like “In Cold Blood” you are in a front row seat through investigations, interviews and facts to find out who committed the crime.

thUI5QXLCHGenerally speaking, I pride myself on my skills of figuring these things out. Usually I do a pretty decent job, but this time around, I was completely wrong. There are enough twists and turns to keep even the most confident of investigative readers on their toes.

Congrats to Gillian Flynn for stumping me again this time. Flynn’s writing is truly on a level of its own. She knows how to trick the reader into believing exactly what she wants, just so she can pull the rug out from under you at the very last minute.

After reading two of her books I’m starting to think Flynn may be the best modern day crime author out there. I’ll let you know my final consensus when I read “Sharp Objects”. Until then, let’s just say the woman is smart and knows what she’s doing. If you’re smart too you’ll read the book—that is if you think you can handle it.

“The One and Only” isn’t the only one for me

untitledAs much as I love a good dystopian young adult novel or a true crime nonfiction story, every now and then I enjoy reading a piece of fiction that reads like a romantic comedy. You know, the kind of book you don’t have to think about when reading? Every once in a while I like to get caught up in a pointless feel good story.

Recently for book club we read “The One and Only” by Emily Giffin, and I was excited to do just that. If you don’t know who Emily Giffin is, that means you missed out on one of my favorite feel good love stories “Something Borrowed”. While I love the charm and humor in Giffin’s first novel, I felt that a lot of what I loved about her writing is missing in “The One and Only”.

This book centers around Shea Rigsby, a football enthusiast living and looking for love in the small town of Walker, Texas. Shea loves everything about her hometown, but her favorite thing about Walker is the football team that she works for—that is until she finds true love.

Through the course of this book we see inside of Shea’s insecurities and “daddy issues,” which I think is a real strength in Giffin’s writing. She knows how women think, and she conveys it well. We all have insecurities and weaknesses, and Giffin portrays a woman’s flaws in a comical, yet real way.

While the idea of “daddy issues” doesn’t really resonate with me personally, I have known a lot of girls in my life who have the same problems internally that Shea deals with in the book. My problem with the book, however, is that I don’t think she deals with these issues in a healthy way.

I honestly read this book in one setting because it was an easy, interesting read—until about three-fourths of the way in when it got weird. I don’t think anyone in my book club was one hundred percent comfortable with the way this one ended.

“The One and Only” was a great book club choice, because it opened us up for some interesting discussions. However, I still wouldn’t recommend this book. It wasn’t that bad, I just didn’t like the ending. An ending can ruin a whole a book for me.

Not to mention, there are definitely far better romantic novels out there—some even by Emily Giffin herself that hit the mark where this one didn’t.

In my opinion, “The One and Only” made one huge flaw that cost the book its greatness. You’re supposed to leave a cute romantic fiction book with a smile on your face. This one, instead, will just leave you scratching your head.