Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

Dark Places Gillian Flynn
Dark Places Gillian Flynn

Dark Places is a novel by Gillian Flynn.  She had wrote this novel prior to Gone Girl.  It is available on Scribd as an audio book.  Dark Places, like Gone Girl, will be adapted into a movie coming out in August 2015.

In 1985, in a rural town in Kansas, two sisters and a mother were brutally murdered.  25 years later, Ben Day (one of the brothers) is serving prison time for the murders, Runner (the father) is just running around town up to no good.  The book begins with Libby meeting with her accountant.  She is not well versed in her own finances.  She wants to know how much money she has remaining from the insurance settlement and a published book.  She assumes she has about $10,000 left to work with.  She doesn’t like to hold a steady job and she just needs money for everyday expenses.  Libby is informed that there is less than $1,000 remaining.

She is approached by a dorky looking young man.  He is part of some kind of kill club and wants to interview her about the murder.  The last thing Libby want to do is recount the dreadful night of the murders.  But she needs money to survive.  Lyle (the dorky looking young man) offers her $500 just for the interview, she accepts.  Lyle and others in the kill club don’t believe that Ben killed the family.  After reviewing the facts it just doesn’t make sense to them.  Next they offer Libby money to go visit Ben in prison to get information from him.

Since the murders, Libby had not responded to any of Ben’s letters or visited him in prison.  To make some money, Libby pays Ben a visit in prison.  Shockingly, Ben is kind to Libby during the visit.  About 25 years ago, it was Libby that testified against Ben.  He told her that he did not commit the murders.  But he was dealing well with being in prison.  It’s not mentioned in the book, but since the family was so poor, maybe prison isn’t a bad thing.

Ben divulges certain information that helps Libby continue the investigation.  When he worked as a janitor around the school he was accused of molesting a young girl named Chrissy Kates.  He also got his girlfriend Diondra pregnant.  He used to hang around bad kids before prison.  They would sit around the house and do drugs and alcohol.

With this information and being offered more money from Lyle she searches out Chrissy Kates.  Chrissy admits to Libby, that she made up the molestation story.  Her and a bunch of young girls at the time made up those rumors.  Next she wanted to pay Runner a visit.  Her father welcomed the visit because he needed money.  After meeting with her scumbag father, she concluded that he was too dumb to have committed the murders.

I will tell you that Ben is right and he did not commit the murders.  It’s a great dark, mystery novel.  The conclusion to Dark Places is crazy and some sites will spoil the story for you.  If you don’t want to read the book, see Dark Places the movie in August.  It will star the great Charlize Theron.

Console Wars – Blake Harris – Scribd Audio Book

Console Wars
Console Wars – Blake Harris

Console Wars is a Scribd Audio Book that is similar to the Super Mario – How Nintendo Conquered America – Jeff Ryan book that I had reviewed previously.  It even shares some of the same historical facts.

Nintendo was created in the late 1800s as a play card company.  They looked to diversify the business when most people already bought playing cards in Japan.  They had some failed ventures.  The most fascinating being an hourly love hotel.  Eventually, they settled on electronic gaming.  Their Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy was extremely popular and gave them 80% of the industry.

I believe this Console Wars falls under the category of semi-fiction.  It most likely uses many facts, but adds certain fictional elements for humor.  Tom Kalinske, is vacationing with his family in Hawaii.  On the beach, he is approached by a Japanese man.  Kalinske is a former successful toy executive and the Japanese guy is trying to get him to join an unknown Sega.

Kalinske’s prior accomplishments include improving performance on Barbie Doll, creating He-Man, and improving child nutrition by creating Flintstones Vitamins.  Kalinske does like to work more than the beach, so he joins Sega.

Tom’s first strategy is a campaign.  He starts touring shopping malls.  Asking people to blindly try out Sega and Nintendo, so they can compare the two products.  Kalinske soon realized that money was to be made in the games not the consoles.  Only one console would be sold per family, but the amount of games sold could be limitless.

Sonic the hedgehog was created at a Sega contest.  The office contest was to create a mascot for the company.  The original Sonic was an evil looking Hedgehog with large fangs.  Kalinske used his marketing talent to create a friendlier looking hedgehog that would appeal to everyone.  Initially, Tom dealt with lots of anguish in approving his Sonic.  But, much to the Chagrin of Japanese executives, Tom’s version was approved.

With Sega Genesis and Sonic the hedgehog, Tom created his next move.  He would allow Sega to lose millions of dollars by adding the Sonic game to the console package.  The assumption was the long run profits of this move would be favorable.  The risk paid off, that holiday season more Sega Genesis units were sold to customer than Nintendo units.

Another large risk that Sega took was to include more adult themes in their video games.  This helped them amass another fortune during production of Mortal Kombat.  Unfortunately, this also gave them some bad press with parents and politicians.  Non-stop thinking Tom was able to put out the fire by creating a rating system on video games.

Sega would continue to do great after they hired marketing experts Goodby Silverstein.  Those are the marketing geniuses behind many super bowl commercials including the Budweiser Frogs.  Goodby Silverstein was intelligent enough to send their team to work with young kids that actually

This review of Console Wars talks about specific facts in the Scribd audio book.  What makes Console Wars such a great book is that it’s very comical.  The audio book is funny with its makeshift Japanese accents.  The other reason why it’s so funny is the crazy things that go on behind the scenes with marketing teams in large corporations.  Another large selling point to this book is that Seth Rogen plans on creating a movie based on this book in 2016.