Study Guide

Ronald "Runner" Day in Dark Places

By Gillian Flynn

Ronald "Runner" Day

Road Runner

The best way to characterize Runner Day, Libby's deadbeat dad, is simple: he cheats at Monopoly.

If you're looking for something a little more detailed, Libby describes him this way: "My dad, Runner Day, was crazy, drunk, and violent in an unimpressive way—a small man with sneaky fists" (3.6). Charming.

To the Kill Club, Runner, not Ben, is the killer of choice, even though "He doesn't seem smart enough to pull that off" (6.37). We agree. Runner is a drug-dealing idiot who can't spell, who is only motivated by money, and who literally lives in a toxic waste dump—where we must say he belongs.

Dark Places is filled with unsympathetic characters, but you can find something, maybe just the tiniest little nugget, of sympathy for pretty much every character except Runner. He's an adult man who acts like a child. He's abusive and neglectful, a paradoxically dangerous combination. And he'd totally sell out his family to get ahead. Libby doesn't seem to care whether he lives or dies, and, well, we kind of don't, either.

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