The Days were a clan that mighta lived long
But Ben Day’s head got screwed on wrong
That boy craved dark Satan’s power
So he killed his family in one nasty hour
Little Michelle he strangled in the night
Then chopped up Debby: a bloody sight
Mother Patty he saved for last
Blew off her head with a shotgun blast
Baby Libby somehow survived
But to live through that ain’t much a life
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.
The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details—proof they hope may free Ben—Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club...and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.
As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members—including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.
I am no more
I am undone
The devil took my soul
I am Satan's son
I'd been wanting to try out something by Gillian Flynn forever and finally decided to give in to the temptation. The book was a psychological thriller through and through. As promised by the synopsis, it was an eerie mix of horror, occult, thriller and some really freaky stuff. Most of the time I alternated between marvelling at Flynn's peculiar trail of thought and wondering if the author has some serious issues.
Most of the characters in the book were positively deranged- be it Libby with her kleptomania and indulgent afternoon daydreaming of committing suicide, the pedophile Ben and his obsession with annihilation, Lyle Wirth with his crime blogs and infatuation with murder mysteries or Diondra with her violent temper and socks fetish. The author was quite unrestrained in her vivid descriptions of murders- which successfully managed to creep me out.
I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it. It’s the Day blood.
I am a liar and a thief. Don’t let me into your house, and if you do, don’t leave me alone. I take things. You can catch me with your string of fine pearls clickering in my greedy little paws, and I’ll tell you they reminded me of my mother’s and I just had to touch them, just for a second, and I’m so sorry, I don’t know what came over me.
Inspite of the switching of time frames and POVs, the story reads easily, although it does seem a little dragged out somewhere during the middle of the book. It was easy to visualise all the scenarios that the author put forward- even the grotesque ones- and sympathise with the characters' states of mind. Flynn successfully managed to convey the frustration of a teenage boy trapped amidst a house full of women, a shitty job and general mistreatment at the hands of the people. Lack of sufficient food and ribbing by peers only augments this resentment. Libby's near psychotic behaviour can also be easily understood from the fact that she saw her mother's and sisters' diced up entrails all over house when she was merely seven years old.
The word came from nowhere—his brain was sticky, phrases and snatches of songs were always wedging themselves in there. Annihilation. He saw flashes of Norse barbarians swinging axes. He wondered for a second, only a second, if he’d been reincarnated, and this was some leftover memory, flittering down like ash.
The element of suspense is successfully maintained throughout the book as Libby and the 'Kill Club' try to puzzle out the murder mystery and the ending was wholly unexpected. It's definitely not a book for the faint hearted- as it could dredge up memories of The American Psycho and Carrie ( not the kind I would want to rekindle)- or for those who hit the ceiling over Satan worship, occult practices and animal sacrifice.
But then kudos to Gillian Flynn for writing a truly freaky novel. 3 stars for the plot and engaging characters and another half for the gore!
Rating:- 3.5/5 stars!