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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

In a Dark, Dark Wood An Addicting Page Turner

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Nora Shaw hasn't spoken to her childhood best friend, Clare Cavendish, in ten years.  A reclusive crime writer, Nora avoids social interaction with just about everyone.  Which is why she's so shocked when she gets an email from Clare's new BFF inviting her to Clare's upcoming hen party.  Not having received a wedding invitation, Nora was unaware of the looming nuptials.  The last thing she wants to do is spend a long weekend with someone she hasn't seen in a decade, but feelings of both curiosity and guilt convince her to accept the invite.  

The party venue—an isolated glass house in the English countryside—does nothing to relieve Nora's anxiety about the hen weekend.  Nor does its hostess, a nervous, eager-to-please woman named Flo.  The other party guests—virtual strangers to one another—seem almost as ill-at-ease as Nora.  As the gathering gets going, things soon go horribly awry.  When Nora wakes up in the hospital with only fractured memories of what has occurred, she must connect the fuzzy dots to figure out how someone in the glass house ended up dead.  And why she's being accused of murder.  

In a Dark, Dark Wood—a debut novel by Ruth Ware—has gotten a lot of buzz since its publication in 2015.  Inevitable comparisons to The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl made psychological thriller fanatics (like Yours Truly) take notice.  Naturally, I jumped at the chance to read an ARC of the book.  Although its big finale was a little predictable, on the whole, I was not disappointed with Ware's freshman effort.  The author excels at creating a spooky, unsettling atmosphere that gives a shivery vibe to the whole story.  Plotwise, it's a tense, taut tale that's twisty enough to keep the reader on edge.  The big reveal at the end isn't all that surprising, true, but the book's still engrossing and suspenseful.  Dark, yes.  Disturbing, yes.  Depressing, yes.  And yet, overall, I enjoyed this addicting page turner.  It kept me reading in a dark, dark bedroom way, way past my bedtime.  


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, blood/gore, and depictions of illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of In a Dark, Dark Wood from the generous folks at Simon and Schuster via those at NetGalley.  Thank you!)


  1. This one is on my list of books to read this year. I can't wait! :)

    1. It's dark and disturbing, but also an engrossing page turner. I'll be interested to see what you think of it!

  2. I liked this one very much. In fact, our mystery group will be reading and discussing it for April.

    1. I wonder what everyone will think of it??

  3. I really enjoyed this one. I listened to it and the narrator was so good I think she enhanced the whole atmosphere of the book. Great review!

    1. Interesting. I never listen to audio books, but it sounds like this one was particularly good.

  4. Yeah, the one sounds creepy and fun too. I'm sad that the ending isn't s surprise. I like being blindsided and it doesn't happen often enough.

    1. I don't know about "fun" (it's pretty dark and disturbing), but it's definitely creepy. I wish the ending would have been more of a blindside, too. Maybe I just read too many of these kinds of books so they don't surprise me anymore? Or maybe the killer really was obvious ...

  5. Have you read S.J. Watson's Before I Go To Sleep? It's disturbing (I'm a little sensitive) - a forewarning, but this book sounds similar. And I loved reading the other books you compared Ware's to. I may have to give this one a try... Thanks!

    1. I enjoyed BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, too. I like books that keep me off-balance, where I never know quite what's real and what isn't. Have you read Watson's new one, SECOND LIFE? I haven't yet, but it looks good.


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