Friday 22 May 2009


Libby Day was just seven years old when her older brother massacred her family while she hid in a cupboard. Her evidence helped put him away. Ever since then she has been drifting, surviving for over twenty years on the proceeds of the 'Libby Day fund'. But now the money is running out and Libby is desperate. When she is offered $500 to do a guest appearance, she feels she has to accept. But this is no ordinary gathering. The Kill Club is a group of true-crime obsessives who share information on notorious murders and they think her brother Ben is innocent.

It is 2 January 1985 - the day of the murders. Ben is a social misfit, ground down by the small-town farming community in which he lives. His family is extremely poor and his father Runner is violent, gambles and disappears for months on end. But Ben does have a girlfriend - a brooding heavy metal fan called Diondra. Through her, Ben becomes involved with drugs and the dark arts. When the town suddenly turns against him, his thoughts turn black. But is he capable of murder?

I was intrigued by this book the first time I read the blurb. Not to mention that the cover certainly gives it that extra, dark look that totally captured my attention.

Libby Day is the only survivor after her brother massacred the rest of the family in the mid-eighties. As a result, after losing her mother and two sisters, Libby lived a hard life. In fact, her testimony of the events of that night is what led to her brother being locked up. Now that she's all grown up and the money is starting to fade to nothing, she becomes desperate enough to attend a meeting with a bunch of people who call themselves the Kill Club. Here, she meets people who believe her brother is innocent and hold her responsible for him being in jail.

At first, she doesn't want anything to do with them, but when they offer her money to start interviewing people that may know more than she does about that night, she accepts.

At the beginning, Libby seems like an unsympathetic character who blames what happened to her as a child for everything that is wrong in her solitary life. But as you get to know her and learn more about her story, you can't help but feel for her constant struggle to get out of bed every morning. It's easy to see why she turned out the way she did. Her honesty is raw and true. How can you not admire someone that strong, considering how weak she believes herself to be?

Her motivation starts out with her need for money, but after she visits her brother in jail for the first time, it turns into a search for the truth. She suddenly needs to find out what really happened that night as she attempts to piece together her own painful memories.

Cleverly interwoven with chapters that take you back to that day in the POV of teenage Ben and the desperate mother, Patty, the story unfolds slowly. So many unexpected layers start to appear as each of them moves along that day, while in the present Libby finds herself in a very horrible conclusion.

Dark Places is an amazing story, filled with mystery, raw emotion, and an honesty so brutal that it often makes you cringe. So much violence, lies, secrets, and misunderstandings lead to a dead family and a little girl who survives but never gets over the tragedy. Every character plays a pivotal role in what happened in that farm in 1985, and the end will shock you.

This is an edge-of-your seat read that you won't be able to put down until you know everything!

Dark Places, May 2009, ISBN 0297852876, W&N Fiction Paperback

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