Published by Broadway Books on May 5, 2009
Genres: Suspense, Thriller
Source: Owned Audible Book
Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars.
Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben's innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother's? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back?
She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day... especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find.
Who did massacre the Day family?
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
This book broke my heart. Going into the story, tragedy has already destroyed main character, Libby “Baby” Day, and now she’s facing financial disaster as all of her money has finally dried up. But Libby is a survivor at heart, so in order to make some money she’s finally going to face her brother, the person she helped put away for the murder of their mother and sisters.
Libby is approached by the leader of a group of crime buffs- they are the people buying serial killer underpants and serial killer artwork online. Now, I went through a true crime phase, and I still like to follow interesting trials, but some of these people are scarier than the killers who interest them. The group believes Libby’s brother, Ben, to be innocent of the murders. At first Libby gives not a shiz, she just wants the money they are willing to give her to hand over mementos and to talk to some of the people involved in the case. As the story moves along though, Libby kind of wants to prove that the kill club’s theory is wrong. Besides, a large reason why Ben is in jail is because she identified him as the killer, even though she was a very young girl.
But since this in a Gillian Flynn book, you know that the crime isn’t so black and white, and soon Libby realizes that there is still so much that is unknown about the night of the murders, and the things that Ben says (and doesn’t say). The book flips between present day and the time leading up to the horrific murders, and it’s all just so sad. Libby and Ben’s family have a rough time, and Ben certainly does seem like a patsy, but the book is full of twists and turns. Nobody is completely innocent, stories intertwine in unexpected ways and communism is just a red herring. Just kidding on the last part, that’s a reference to Clue.
I also liked the shout out to the Satanic Panic that seized our nation in the 1980s, and the idea of false memories. We tend to think our memories are infallible, but our brains are big, fat, liar McLiarsons, and will make shiz up without us ever knowing it. For instance in my memories the trip I took to Colorado when I was seven or eight ended with us in Niagara Falls, Canada, but they were two separate trips. My memory mashed them together like a sing off between the boys and the girls in Glee. I guess because they were both cold? I don’t know, I just know that you are in some deep shiz if I’m the one testifying against you in a murder trial. Hell, I lied so well to myself as a kid that I thought I could sing and that the Bangles were sure to add me to the band as soon as I mastered the keyboard. That is the depth of my self-delusion power, people. Because I can’t sing (no, seriously, can’t and shouldn’t sing in front of anyone who doesn’t already love me or who isn’t being blackmailed into being my friend, ever) and I can only play a few bars of Ode to Joy… which is surprisingly NOT covered by the Bangles.
More than in Sharp Objects, I could feel the beginnings of Gone Girl in this book (although I feel like the mom in Sharp Objects could be a grown up Amy). There’s a part where Libby is jealous of a missing woman who seems to be getting more attention than Baby Day, which feels like the seeds of Gone Girl. Like the characters in Flynn’s other books, Libby isn’t the most sympathetic of characters. She’s a thief, a mooch- she’s allowed the tragedy to eclipse her whole life and has milked it for pretty much all it’s worth. But my favorite part of the book was watching her wake up and start to grow up.
Unlike Sharp Objects and Gone Girl, there were some twists here that I did not see coming at all. I was on pins and needles the whole time I was listening to the book, desperate to find out what really happened that night that Libby survived her family’s slaughter. The way things came together was horrifying to watch, and I just wanted to reach inside the audiobook and rescue this small, poor family from impending doom. But there are no brakes on this kill train, not when Gillian Flynn is the conductor.
All four narrators did a very good job! I’m actually super glad I listened to this one, because I guarantee you if I’d been reading this in print, I would have flipped to the back of the book to find the ending. The narrators helped bring the characters to life and kept me glued to the unfolding story. I would listen to any of these narrator’s other works.