A skillful mix of an unreliable narrator, heart pounding suspense and a cast of dodgy characters.
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Published: 30th July, 2015
Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since the day Nora walked out of her old life and never looked back.
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen party arrives. A weekend in a remote cottage – the perfect opportunity for Nora to reconnect with her best friend, to put the past behind her.
But something goes wrong.
And as secrets and lies unravel, out in the dark, dark wood the past will finally catch up with Nora.
Nora has a dark secret, and an invitation to Clare’s hen do. Neither of those thrill her too much, because who likes to hide something shady, or attend to a party of a woman with whom she hasn’t been in touch for a decade for some ominous reasons?
But after making a sort of pact with another old school friend, Nina, off she goes, into the woods, where the dubious hen weekend takes place. The organizer, Flo is a proper fruitloop, Nina is an outright bitch whose favourite pastime seems to be antagonizing everyone, Clare is all sorts of weird, Melanie constantly complains about something, and there’s also a dude among the guests.
The story is told entirely from Nora’s perspective, so we only know what she knows, and let me tell you it’s not much. Turns out, she can’t remember shit, because of the horrible thing that happened, and the concussion she’s suffering from doesn’t help either. So, here we are trying to make sense of the whole conundrum while she’s in the throws of despair over not having any recollection of the events.
I didn’t find Nora’s dirty secret as earth shattering as she made it out to be, and figured it pretty early on. I’m not sure whether I was supposed to do that, or perhaps just watched too many true crime documentary lately, or teenage girls are just bloody predictable, but in all fairness, my discovery didn’t take away anything from the enjoyment of the story.
This was a pretty exhilarating thriller, one of those I would definitely call a proper page turner, more focused on creating suspense and making you feel lost and uncomfortable than getting to know the characters, but nevertheless entertaining.
In a Dark, Dark Wood has all the ingredients that make a gripping and suspenseful mystery that is just waiting to be devoured.
But! I also need to mention this: if you like to take your thrillers seriously, you might end up feeling shortchanged with this one, because there are some events that might feel a bit silly, or too convenient.
Would you be comfortable to attend a party in the middle of the woods, with no cellphone reception whatsoever?