- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press; Later printing edition (August 4, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1501112317
- ISBN-13: 978-1501112317
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,345 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In a Dark, Dark Wood Hardcover – August 4, 2015
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An Amazon Best Book of August 2015: Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood has all the hallmarks of a good psychological thriller-- a woman lured back to a past she's spent a decade trying to escape, a few unstable characters, and a shocking death. The impending marriage of Nora's best friend from that long ago time brings her to a glass-walled cabin deep in the woods, for a hen party (the U.K. equivalent of a bachelorette weekend). But why is she there when the two haven't spoken since Nora fled their college town ten years ago? As the party gets underway things start to take a dark turn that builds with each passing moment. In a Dark, Dark Wood is a slow burn, each revelation and obfuscation luring the reader at an ever faster pace towards its ultimate life and death conclusion.--Seira Wilson
I started IN A DARK, DARK WOOD on an airplane, kept dipping into it whenever I was left alone, devoured another big chunk on the flight home, and after that surrendered myself to it until the last revelation had bloomed, the final surprise had exploded, and the bittersweet conclusive turn had folded the final page. Ruth Ware has written an exciting, and in fact amazing book that never stops circling around behind the reader and clapping its cold hands over her eyes. (Peter Straub, New York Times bestselling author)
I raced through this, totally unable to put it down...Dark, smart and compulsive. (Nicci Cloke, author of Lay Me Down)
"So gripping. So glad my hen days are behind me. It’s going to be huge." (Tamar Cohen, author of Dying for Christmas and The Broken)
“The next Girl on the Train…Ware hews [close] to the new genre of twisty-mystery women’s books.” (Vulture)
"Ware slowly unspools the mystery, setting a truly spooky scene … with a constant undercurrent of danger. Read it on adark and stormy night—with all the lights on." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Who pulls a gun at a bachelorette party? The answers are unveiled with Gillian Flynn-style trickery." (O Magazine)
"Likely to be the next Gone Girl." (Elizabeth Willse Surrounded by Books)
"Haunting." (Style Boston)
"Eerie and mysterious!" (EBookClassics)
"An English psychological thriller...compared to Gone Girl and Girl on the Train." (Steve Bennett My San Antonio)
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This book was slow and I was sort of shocked when the murder happened at about 50% of the book (I read it on my Kindle so I don't know page numbers.) I thought to myself "How are they going to fill up the rest of this book?" And I was spot on: this book could've ended at the 50% mark and I would've liked it more. On the plus side: it's an easy read that you can finish on a domestic flight.
How they are going to turn this into a movie is beyond me. No doubt, it will be a boring movie.
Basically, here's the book so you can save your money (there are no real spoilers):
0%: Meet Nora
5%: Start ludicrous plot line
10%: Meet a motley crew of annoying characters
25%: Tequila and cocaine
50%: Murder (an alcohol and drug-fueled murder? Ruh roh!)
60%: Nora can't remember what happened.
70%: Nora still can't remember what happened.
80%: "Oh why, oh why, can't I remember what happened?" asks Nora.
90%: Eureka, Nora remembers what happened!
95%: Nora's having tea with the murderer because killing someone sure makes me thirsty for some Earl Grey.
100%: Thank God this book is over.
"Are you sure?" she asked wonderingly.
"Yes. I believe so," I replied assuredly.
The story centers on Nora, a 26 year old crime fiction writer who is sometimes referred to by other characters as Lee, Leonora, or Leo. Nora is invited to a bachelorette weekend party to celebrate the marriage of Clare, a person she hasn't seen in a decade. The reunion is awkward (Clare is marrying Nora's old boyfriend) and the guests include various stereotypes: the mentally unhinged Flo, catty Tom, stressed out new mom Melanie, and sassy best friend Nina. Toss in lots of alcohol, a litttle cocaine, and plenty of bad feelings and you have the makings of a really unpleasant party. And then there's a murder which leaves Nora battered with amnesia trying to put her memories back together.
Touted as a mystery in the Agatha Christie mold the story plays out more like a Scooby-doo tale. The author drops conspicuous clues repetitively. Two characters who are of similar build wear identical clothing (Jinkies!) and there's a shotgun hanging on the wall loaded with blanks (Ruh-roh). There are other warning signs as well -- no phone service, mysterious footprints and a missing cell phone. The author lays out the clues in an heavy handed, overt manner.
The characters come across as fairly shallow and juvenile. There didn't seem to be anyone to root for -- not even the murder victim. The ending is quite obvious -- although not to Nora which reinforces her characterization as incredibly dim (especially for a crime fiction writer). I don't want to give out any spoilers, but the tea drinking conversation near the end of the book is ludicrous.
I can not recommend this book.
Ok, so I'm just kidding about the three word review part, I'll give you more. I'm totally not joking about how creepy the book was though. I listened to the audio book when I went on walks with my dog or on my commute to and from work, but it was always at day time because this book was so darn creepy.
The story is centered around Nora, a young crime fiction writer who is invited on her childhood best friend's bachelorette party. She hasn't seen her friend in many years, but she decides to go anyways. Things start getting a little strange at the bachelorette party and Nora begins questioning why she is there in the first place. After someone is murdered, Nora loses part of her memory from the evening and must retrieve it in order to find the murderer.
As much as I enjoyed the fast paced flow of the book, there were parts that were a little childish, cliche, and one dimensional. There were very obvious clues dropped throughout the book as well as a super large build-up for a not so surprising ten year secret. There were times when I just wanted to get to then end and be finished. With all of that said, I did enjoy the book. It was obvious at times that it was the author's first novel. I would recommend this book to friends, but it definitely would not be the highest book on my list.