In true Gillian Flynn style she takes you back and forth between past and present to try and figure out what happened the night of The Satan Sacrifice:
The murder of Libby's family became known as the “The Satan Sacrifice" and she was the only survivor at the age of seven. Well her brother survived as well, but he was convicted of the murders.twenty five years later Libby has been living off donations made to her by the public and funds are running low. She happens to receive a message from a guy named Lyle who wants her to make an appearance at a convention known as The Murder Club. Lyle's group is determined to find the "real" killer of Libby's family, but Libby knows they have it all wrong, her brother Ben murdered her family...Right?
This has a similar type of format to Gone Girl (except the previous time is not based upon journal entries), so if you have read that book and liked that format you will enjoy this book as well. You are continually waiting for the last hour of the day when Libby's family was killed. I liked the back story that this format gave this book as there were multiple points of view; Libby, Ben and their mother. As this format seems to be one that Flynn prefers I will say that I liked it better in this book than in Gone Girl and I think this was due to the fact that it did not have the journal aspect. I was able to figure out the majority of the mystery presented here but not entirely, which is always a plus for me, but I will say that when everything is revealed it lacked some of the shock factor of Gone Girl (though maybe this is due to the fact this is the last book I have read all the previous books by Flynn so you know that there has to be something "big" coming).
I always love books with small towns featured and in this book it is a small farming town in the 80s (where devil worship was the mainstream thing at the time) made it all the more interesting. It is crazy to see how people make the leap from a few facts or how someone looks to devil worshiper. You can also tell that the town did not really care for Libby and her family as bad apples and a horrible mother, when really they are trying to do the best they can. Though we don't get to read much about the investigation or trial at the time, lets just say you can tell that they were all to ready to believe the easiest root but the more you read from Ben's point of view, you go back and forth whether the law enforcement at the time had it right or not.
I liked Libby as a character with her insecurities and quirks, for example the kleptomania that she seems to have. It was kind of funny to see what random thing that she would take next from a person's home, she just felt the need to have it, like a soap dish. I appreciated that Flynn did not have her come unscathed from the mass murder on her family, she is selfish, moody, angry, anti-social and just really emotionally troubled. In fact she is not able to hold down a job and relies on the money that people donated to her after her family was killed. The interesting part of this is that she feels entitled to this money and when another tragedy cause people to stop donating to her she feels pity for herself and not the other person who has suffered a tragedy. And really the only reason she agrees to "help" Lyle and the murder club out for the money that he is willing to pay her.
Lyle was a quirky character, he has really poor social skills that at time reminded me a bit of Sherlock Holmes (TV version in Elementary) in the fact that he was more concerned on getting to the truth of what happened that he was unable to actually garner a rapport in order to get the information that he wanted he would just jump right in to the questions.
I enjoyed this book and I think that it is Libby who makes this book, as she is not your typical main character as she is very flawed and really is only out for herself. I believe i have new read all the books the Flynn has released (other than the new short story she has released), so I'm looking forward to what she comes up with next. On a side note, I have yet to watch the movie adaptation of this book so I'm going to check it out to see how well they did, though I'm not sure already if I believe Charlize Theron as Libby.