In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

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In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Amy Etherington
Reviewed by Amy Etherington
Summary: An engaging and modern mystery thriller that is both smart and intriguing. In a Dark, Dark Wood is a well written yet easy read that will keep you guessing.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 pages Date: December 2015
Publisher: Vintage Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0099598244

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Nora Shaw hasn't seen her friend Clare since Nora left school ten years ago and didn't look back. Now working as a crime writer and living in London, she is naturally surprised when she receives an invitation to Clare's hen party – a weekend in a woodland cottage in the Northumberland country. Curious as to why Clare would invite her after all these years Nora reluctantly agrees to come, but as the weekend unfolds something goes very wrong and old secrets are slowly revealed.

In terms of the plot, this is as much as I'm willing to reveal since to say any more would damage the mystery of the story. In a Dark, Dark Wood is a crime thriller that is gripping and not exactly what I expected it to be, but for all the right reasons. The undertone of the story is dark and suspenseful, and I surprised myself by enjoying it much more than I believed I would since mystery thrillers aren't usually a genre I go for. However, from the first chapter I was sucked in to the story and it did a very good job at keeping me interested and wanting to know more about what was going to unfold. The novel is very much suitable as a travel or beach read; it's escapism but still in the twenty-first century and engaging without being overly complicated. This is actually Ruth Ware's debut novel I was impressed by the quality of writing in addition to it having a fresh and captivating feel.

This is an incredibly quick read and the plot is a very absorbing, mystery filled page-turner. It is written from Nora's perspective, whose narrative wonderfully builds up the apprehensive atmosphere and really makes you feel present in the story. Set in a modern and desolate holiday home in the woodland, it has an almost creepy and oppressive feel to it and instantly the hen weekend has a sense of doom clouding over it. The title of the novel suggests this might be a bloody and gruesome tale, but that isn't the case – the story is clever and despite the country-house-murder-mystery feel to it, Ware's writing is gripping and you're left with a psychological thriller that's very fulfilling.

There's an interesting blend of characters that Ware fleshes out very well in addition to there being a noticeable and intriguing underbelly of tension between the party-goers - you can practically feel a storm brewing within the pages and it's very effective. Plus the atmosphere is claustrophobic and gloomy, and as far as mystery thrillers go it does a good job at keeping you on your toes which I think is partly due to the narrative style. The chapters spring between past and present and are well balanced enough for the story to flow easily, but are also suggestive of what is to come. It's very subtle and the layers to the plot are revealed slowly, but tactically.

I have to admit, during the final chapters it did wear a little bit thin at piecing together the mystery and although the plot was smart, the ending felt almost rushed. The way in which things came together and finally resolved was satisfying, but felt oddly hurried despite the pace being good throughout. It was overall however, very enjoyable – a thrilling and atmospheric tale that was actually a lot of fun to read.

For further reading I would recommend Hidden by Katy Gardner or The Deceived by Brett Battles if, like In a Dark, Dark Wood, you're looking for a good beach read.

Buy In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware at

Buy In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware at


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