Nora, a successful author who has spent the last ten years trying to put her high school ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend behind her. Now, with an irresistible and inexplicable invitation to that ex-friend's hen party, the past comes rushing back as if high school never ended in the dark, dark woods.
In a Dark, Dark Wood is my first dabble into Ruth Ware's body of work, which also impressively includes both The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Lying Game. Psychological crime thrillers have become something of a guilty pleasure of mine lately, especially in the fall months, so I was instantly drawn to the formidable plot teasers of this book. A cabin in the woods, a bachelorette party, and a high school secret hovering on brink? I'm there. If you find yourself in the same boat, I recommend picking it up.
I gave this book 3.5 stars, which you may be thinking is not very high considering I am recommending you go seek it out. There are a few reasons for this. In a Dark, Dark Wood starts so strong. The time jumping from the "before" to the "after" is an effective strategy to hook a reader instantly, as is the mysterious anxiety surrounding this invitation to the hen party. As the story progresses, we meet more oddball characters and I found deep enjoyment in the misery of the weekend. I mean, this hen party is laughably awful. The red herrings are well-placed in the first two-thirds of the novel and you are really working your brain to figure out what the big, time-buried secret is.
THEN, you find out the secret and the mystery is gone. The ending becomes very predictable and it's no longer surprising when you find out who did it. Though this doesn't detract completely from the actual enjoyment of the book, I was a little let down.
Overall? Read Ruth Ware. She's a great writer and I loved the majority of this book. I have high hopes for the aforementioned The Lying Game and The Woman in Cabin 10, which I will definitely seek out at some point.
Let me know what you thought of this book in the comments.
Publication Details: Scout Press; 978-1501112331; 352 pp.; Fiction -> Mystery, Thriller, Suspense.