I decided to check out Dark Places after reading and loving Gone Girl, and I ended up loving it even more. While I really enjoyed Gone Girl, I didn’t connect with its main characters the way I connected with Libby in Dark Places. Flynn’s characters are always deeply flawed, sometimes even unlikable, which I found to be the case with both Nick and Amy in Gone Girl. Libby is not only easier to relate to, but her growth and development throughout the book are insanely well done. In the beginning, she’s depressed and stagnant. She’s floated through life aimlessly since she was seven when her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered by an unknown killer who may or may not have been her older brother. For the most part, she has avoided thinking about it, but as the story progresses and she begins to examine that night more closely, she finally finds purpose in unraveling the mystery behind the killings.
I also adored her relationship with Lyle, which serves as the catalyst for piecing the remains of her life back together after being shattered by her family’s deaths. (I recently learned that he’s going to be played by Nicholas Hoult in the upcoming movie adaption, which I think is a spot-on casting choice.) I like that their relationship was platonic and open to interpretation. What Libby needed was a friend, not a romance.
Bottom line: Dark Places is as dark and morbid as you’d expect from a Gillian Flynn novel but with ten times more heart.