Leonora is a writer who is used to living alone. She’s got some issues with a dude named James who supposedly did something terrible ten years ago. This was so terrible that most of her friends went by the wayside. Fast-forward to today: a hen party invite arrives. (For my fellow American readers, a hen party is a bachelorette party—this one requiring an overnight stay.) So, lots of questions for the reader: who is this “James” and why is Leonora being invited to a hen party?
Enter the dark, dark woods. This environment is creepy as [choose your own adjective/explicative]. The hen party’s arranger has an aunt with a glass house in the middle of woods, located in an extremely remote environment. Let’s paint that picture a little better: dark woods, see-through house. Folks on the outside can see you; you can’t see potential people/creatures/bigfoot/murderers on the outside.
IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware is an expertly crafted thriller in the likes of GONE GIRL and GIRL ON THE TRAIN, with one caveat: there are not alternating perspectives. Time flips from present to past, slowly unwinding the clues to what the heck are these folks doing in the middle of the woods, and—MURDER!!
The book is quickly paced, really winding things tight toward the end. By the time Leonora discovers footprints in the snow, you won’t be able to stop reading. The conclusion is, well, conclusive. Much better than that story about the girl that Ben Affleck went looking to find. I would even say the pacing is better than that story about the drunken girl solving crimes from her window seat. In other words, IN A DARK, DARK WOOD stands alone as a must-read title.
Being a debut book, I do have some nitpicks. First, the “big secret”. Don’t worry, no spoilers. Leonora’s secret with James is kind of hard to hide. We don’t find out about it until near the end, but I’m thinking most of her friends, not just one, would have known about it. Second, drinking tea with the murderer. Huh? Read the book and then we’ll talk about it.
Here’s the kicker: I purchased this book to take with me on a trip into the deep, deep woods (somewhere along the border of New Hampshire, Maine, and Canada). Needless to say, I had to keep the fire burning bright. And, yes, I’m a bit crazy.
P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!! The link is in the above paragraph about the trip into the deep, deep woods.
And, if you are looking for more reviews of IN A DARK, DARK WOOD, Cleopatra Loves Books really liked this one! She said, “it raised a few hairs on my neck means that this book fully deserves all the accolades it has received”.
UPDATE: Tea talk with author Ruth Ware