Home books The Year In Books – March

The Year In Books – March

by Clare Mansell
The Year In Books – March

It’s rare that I go back to an author when I’ve abandoned one book by them, but last month I did, almost by accident…

Dark Places was recommended to me by Georgina, the lovely PR lady at Stagecoach and I bought it online without recognising the name of the author as also being the writer of Gone Girl. Gone Girl is one of those books that seems to divide people, it was a best seller, but like that other blockbuster Girl On A Train, I didn’t get it and after struggling through two thirds of the book I eventually gave up on it.


Dark Places does have a similar feel to Gone Girl, but I thought it had a much more interesting premise. The story is about Libby Day who twenty years before survived a masacre which left her two elder sisters and mother dead. Her older brother Ben was sent to jail for their murder and Libby was left to grow up being passed around various family carers. Now in her mid-twenties the fund of public donations which she has been living off is running dry and she is approached with a financial offer to speak to members of the “Kill Club” a group of real-life murder enthusiasts.

This meeting leads to more offers of money for her to follow up on questions the club members have about the murders and so she begins, reluctantly at first, to investigate the killing of her family.

It’s an interesting plot, though not quite what I’d call a page turner and in the end although the solution to the murder was quite a clever idea, the conclusion left me feeling a little empty and sad and I’m not sure it’s entirely credible.

I also struggled with a couple of other things in the book. I couldn’t picture the character of Diondra at all and had to look up the actress who played her in the film to try and get a handle on her and I couldn’t buy the idea that six year-old Libby Day was referred to as “Baby Day” in the press. This is mentioned quite a lot at the start of the novel and it just didn’t fit at all that a primary school age child would be called a “baby”.

So, am I glad I went back to reading Gillian Flynn? I think I am. It feels good to have reached the end of one of her novels and it confirmed in many respects that I was right about the reservations I had about Gone Girl. Dark Places was a memorable and enjoyable read with a clever plot idea, but it felt a little light weight and I don’t think I’ll be rushing back to read another of her books.

For April I’m reading a book that I picked up in Tesco recently as a Mother’s Day gift for my mum (buying books for my mum is great like that…they come right back to me!) The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin is all about a 4 year-old boy who wants to go home….. to his mother in his past life!

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1 comment

My Two Mums April 13, 2016 - 1:57 pm

I picked this up last weekend and then put it back down again as I too did not like Gone Girl. I might borrow it from the library rather than buy it.


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