Gillian Flynn’s DARK PLACES

Sometimes you just have to see for yourself.

Back in 2012 and early 2013, I remember hearing a lot about a baseball player named Mike Trout. Being a Cubs fan (see: suffering), I didn’t get many chances to watch the Angels since they play late at night, and for me that’s prime writing time.

But my son and I got the opportunity to catch an Angels-Cubs game on July 10th, 2013, and I finally got the opportunity to watch Mike Trout play in person at Wrigley Field.

His stat line? Three hits, two of them doubles. A walk. A stolen base. Some sparkling defensive play in center field. He drove in a run and scored two more. The Angels, incidentally, beat my Cubbies thirteen-to-two that night. But my boy and I still had a blast. It truly is about being together.

One-Man Wrecking Crew
One-Man Wrecking Crew

Yet as impressive as Trout’s stats were, what impressed me most that night was the way he went about his business. There was attention to every single detail. His stance, his eye at the plate, his defensive readiness. This was a player who relished the process, who understood how much the little things mattered, who wasn’t content to cruise through a game that was decided by the top of the second inning.

Gillian Flynn reminds me of Mike Trout. I’d heard about her for years, but for whatever reason, I didn’t take the plunge and try her work until last month. I’d seen (and loved) GONE GIRL, but figured I’d read one of her lesser known works first (if a book with more than 185,000 ratings on Goodreads could be termed “lesser known”).

Dark Places

So what did I think of DARK PLACES?

I thought it was outstanding. The labyrinthine/Gothic plotting, the manner in which the past interacted with the present, the character arcs and unflinching willingness to venture into the nastier thickets of the human psyche. All of it worked for me. Swimmingly.

But what impressed me even more was Flynn’s writing. In every sentence there was attention and care. Her word choice was impeccable. Every character, no matter how minor, was rendered in a distinct, memorable way. Flynn never used her minor players as incidental flotsam; instead, she took the time to make them dangerous or heartbreaking or misguided or eerily relatable.

In other words, Gillian Flynn is the Mike Trout of modern fiction. A fairly newish author (okay, new to me!) who respects the game and who plays it the way it’s meant to be played.

I really dug DARK PLACES, but I went crazy over Flynn’s writing. I suspected I would, but I needed to be sure.

Sometimes you just have to see for yourself.

gillian-flynn
One-Woman Wrecking Crew

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