Someone's getting married. Someone's getting murdered.
In a dark, dark wood
Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.
There was a dark, dark house
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room
But something goes wrong. Very wrong.
And in the dark, dark room....
Some things can’t stay secret for ever.
"You can run ... but you can't escape!"
It was supposed to be an enjoyable, memorable weekend ... away in the woods.
Nora Shaw, a writer, enjoys a quiet, peaceful life, alone in her flat with only the characters she invents as companions...in her head. One day she receives an email from a woman named Flo. This woman is organising a hen do for a common friend, Clare, a woman Nora hasn't seen since school. The hen do consists of a weekend in a house in some remote woods, away from civilisation. Reluctantly, and encouraged by the attendance of a closer friend, Nina, Nora accepts the invitation.
We immediately know that something isn't quite right. Nora is suspicious and worried, why? Something bad has happened between Nora and Clare in the past, what? Why has Clare invited her after all these years? Why was she invited to the hen do but not to the wedding? That's strange! What's the real scope of this weekend?
It turned out to be an unforgettable weekend ... but only for the wrong reasons.
As soon as she arrives at the house, her instinct tells Nora that she shouldn't have come. There she meets a bunch of enigmatic, unlikeable individuals, with whom she has to pass a whole weekend. By the end of that weekend, Nora ends up in hospital with police guarding her door. What happened? Where are the others? She can't remember. From the snippets she remembers, we know that things have turned horrifyingly bad in the house in the woods... and someone has died.
Well, I think that this book is just brilliant. I found it very engrossing. The author skilfully creates a suspenseful atmosphere at the beginning and keeps the tension constantly high throughout. I felt a strong pull from this book that made me consume one chapter after the other very quickly. I've even got up during the night to read some more, something I don't usually do and certainly shouldn't have done with this book. There's some creepy stuff you don't have to read in the dark.
In a way, this book reminds me of old Agatha Christie movies and books where you have a number of individuals, all possible suspects. Through the author's wonderful prose, and through Nora's thoughts, the reader analyses each character in turn and tries to find the culprit. Everyone has a motive. Everyone is a suspect. I thought I've guessed the perpetrator early on, but by the end I realised how wrong I was.
However, I was not very convinced by something that happens toward the end. In my opinion that was too much of a coincidence and seemed as a hurried way to tie up loose ends. Other than that, this is a dark, thrilling read that keeps you on tenterhooks and guessing till the end and I highly recommend it.
With thanks to Random House, Vintage Publishing and Netgalley for approving my request to read and review this book.
About the Author
Ruth Ware grew up in Lewes, in East Sussex. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in north London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. Married, with two small children, In a Dark, Dark Wood is her debut thriller.