Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Page Count: 349 pages
Genre: Psychological suspense
Tone: Dark, Disturbing, Brooding
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas”. She escaped and survived to later testify that her 15-year-old brother Ben was the killer. Twenty-five years later she is contacted by “The Kill Club” and pumped for information they hope to use to free Ben. Libby hatches a plan to profit from her tragic past but ends up being chased by a killer.
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.
Questions composed by MPPL Staff
1. What do you think dark places refers to?
2. Was it the murders that made Libby who she was? How about Ben?
3. Would the novel have worked if Libby was a kinder, gentler or more sympathetic character?
4. What did you think of Ben and Libby’s relationship as children? In the beginning of the book, Ben dies his hair and while they are all upset by this, Libby seems the most upset. She said, “He hates us” (pg. 26). Why? Later, Libby dies her hair. Is there a significance?
5. What did you think of young Ben?
6. Did you think Ben was guilty? Does the author intend for us to doubt him? Would Ben have ended up in jail regardless?
7. While in jail, Ben thought about his 15-year-old self almost as his son and sometimes he wanted to throttle the kid, the kid who just didn’t have it in him (pg 341). What didn’t he have in him?
8. What do you think would have happened to Diondra and the baby if she and Ben had run off together?
9. What did you think of the Kill Club?
10. What did you think about Lyle Wirth? What was Libby and Lyles relationship?
11. What is the difference between the Free Day Society and the Kill Club? Is one more “palatable than the other?
12. Does Runner have any redeeming characteristics?
13. When Libby got in touch with Runner to ask about the night of the murders Runner wrote her a letter telling her he has cancer and that he doesn’t have long to live (pg 210). He says he was excited to hear from her. What did you think of this letter? Do you think her really knew the real killer
14. What do you think was going on with Diondra and Trey? How about Diondra and Runner?
15. Why is Diondra sleeping with Ben? Why is Ben sleeping with Diondra?
16. Why did Chrissi accuse Ben of molestation? Did you feel sorry for her?
17. Chrissi and Libby seemed to have some common ground, both accused Ben of doing horrific crimes that he didn’t do. In your opinion, which accusation was worse?
18. Chrissi said “No one ever forgives me for anything.” Do you think forgiveness plays a role in in Dark Places? Which characters do you find to be more forgivable? Which characters do you find the least forgivable?
19. Throughout the novel Libby, Patty, and Ben unknowingly echo each other’s dialogue and thoughts. What do you think the author was trying to do with this technique?
20. As you were reading the book did you find yourself finding one theory about the killer more believable? Who did you believe was the real killer?
21. What did you think of Diane’s character? Do you feel you got to know her? Were you curious about her perspective?
22. At the end of the book, Patty starts thinking she’d never have to worry again about commodity prices, operating costs, or interest rates and that she’d never have to see the Cates family again. What did you think she was going to do?
23. In the end it turns out that Patty hired the angel of debt to murder her. What did you think of this? (Was it noble? Or stupid?)
24. What was the Angel of Debts motivation for assisting/murdering 32 people?
25. What did you think of Crystal? Is she a “bad” seed? Is there even such a thing as bad genes?
26. Ben eventually got released from prison. Will Libby ever be able to get out of her prison?
27. Were you happy with the way the ending tied things up?
28. Have you read anything else by Gillian Flynn? How do her books compare? If you have not read anything else by her, would you read her next one?
Discussion questions from author’s website
Gillian Flynn interview article on Dark Places
Discussion questions and answers from the blog Seriously Sarah
USA Today article on the differences between the movie and book