Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Review: In The Dark Dark Wood

Sharon Long is here to tell us about a debut novel which started off her New Year right.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is a psychological thriller published by Scott Press in August 2015. I have seen a great deal of publicity about this book and was anxious to read it. Also, I was intrigued by the cover. I should say the U.S. cover since the UK cover is not nearly as appealing. I must say all the hype was definitely warranted. 

The story opens with Nora running and seeing car lights. Next she wakes up in a hospital and starts to examine the cuts, bruises and her bitten bloody nails. The nurses tell her she is going for a scan. Nora has no idea what is going on, she only keeps thinking what have I done. In the next chapter, we go back a few weeks. Nora, the reclusive crime fiction author, receives an email for a hen party. Or for us Americans, a bachelorette party. The bride is Clare, a friend whom Nora has not spoken with for over 10 years. Nora is debating if she should go and questioning why now, especially after what happened. Nina, Nora's best friend, pushes her into accepting.

Nina and Nora begin the trip to Northlumberland first by train, then car. They arrive at a strange glass and steel house in the middle of the woods. The hen party starts with 5 women and 1 man. They play drinking games and the reader begins to learn more about why Nora suddenly left university so many years ago. During the weekend hen party, strange things start occurring including unexplained footsteps in the snow and locked doors opening. All the while in the glass house which Nora cannot decide if people are looking in or the people inside are exhibitionists for all the world to see. 

I was hooked from the beginning since on page 2, Nora is in the hospital and keeps repeating what have I done. I was compelled to know what had Nora done. The action builds to a fast pace with an ending I never saw coming. Most of the story takes place in the 48 hour hen party outside of London. I enjoyed Ruth's writing style and her realistic characters. This is a story about friends and what you do and do not know about them. Per the author's website, an untitled book 2 is coming in the summer of 2016. An interesting fact about Ruth, she worked as a waitress, bookseller, teacher and a press officer. I am personally looking forward to many more books from this author. 

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