Gillian Flynn scares the shit out of me. Whilst this is nothing more than pure conjecture, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn she was a serial killer in a former life, or that she stabs bunnies and kittens and hamsters and toy poodles during her spare time (for research purposes). Sure, she has her shit together, but she has an interesting way of sprinkling her love for Kansas across 368 ink-splattered pages. It begs the question: What would she do with a state like California and in a city like LA? The LA tourism board probably has had many a sleepless night just mulling over what this superbly talented author could do. Future headline in the Los Angeles Times: Tourism down 31% in three weeks. And if I were Kemper, I’d search for land elsewhere. I hear Antarctica isn’t bad this time of year. If you need a recommendation, I’ll put you in touch with Kate Upton.
Seriously, though, DARK PLACES dropped me in a dank forest in the middle of the night, shaved my head, punched me in the gut, stabbed me in the throat, and then kicked me in the crotch, all within the first 250 pages or so. If you want to learn about man’s inhumanity to man, I can’t think of many authors that do it better. But if you don’t want to be sucking applesauce through a straw, hooked up to a catheter, and have a nurse that resembles the Joker wield a scalpel near your jugular, you might want to point yourself in the direction of the latest Disney movie (probably not Maleficent) and get yourself a handful of gummy bears.
Libby and Ben Day had more than a few things to say, and quite possibly needed an intervention. While I probably would have enjoyed this more if I had even one character I could root for (even the mother made me shudder and cringe), that wouldn’t be realistic in this particular world. Maybe I had to enter the right frame of mind to meander my way from beginning to end, but once I found purchase on this particular surface, I rushed toward the conclusion without any particular illusions. And then discovered I needed a shower and shave and a nightlight to help me make it until it dawn.