Monday, September 25, 2017

Crime & Beyond Book Club Reads In a Dark, Dark, Wood by Ruth Ware

The Denver-based book club Crime & Beyond has read another psychological thriller by author Ruth Ware. I'm scared just looking at the cover. Let’s see what they have to say.

Last month, Crime & Beyond book club read Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10, a psychological whodunit of sorts. This month we met to discuss another of Ware’s books, In a Dark, Dark Wood. Critics hail Ware as a modern day Agatha Christie with a Girl on a Train feel. When we discussed The Woman in Cabin 10, we felt that the latter was a fair comparison but did not see the Christie influence. Same goes for In a Dark, Dark Wood. I think the Agatha Christie influence is really in the locations where the books are set rather than the plots or the writing. Ware manages to come up with remote locations and closed universe settings where there are a finite number of suspects to choose from, something Christie really excelled at.

In this month’s book, our main character, Nora, is attending a hen party for a woman she was friends with as a teenager. Several others are staying the weekend with her at a remote cabin, deep in the woods of the English countryside, during the cold winter season. Nora was hesitant to even accept the invitation to the party given the fact that she hasn’t spoken to the bride in years and only knows one other person attending. She lets herself be talked into it and very soon wishes she hadn’t. Strange things begin happening at the cabin and things from Nora’s past start to resurface.

We had mixed reviews on the book, which led to a great discussion. Something many of us agreed on was that the setting was a large part of what we liked about the story. We could picture the house in the woods with the huge picture window. The hen party concept was also something that we enjoyed, it was such a unique way to round up a bunch of people and plan a murder. We were split down the middle when we went around the room to see which book club members preferred: The Woman in Cabin 10 or In a Dark, Dark Wood. I think Ware’s books work well for book clubs because there are a lot of aspects to discuss.

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