(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.
(Readalikes: Reminds me of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language, violence, blood/gore, and depictions of illegal drug use