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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)
“[In a Dark, Dark Wood] will appeal to fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train.” (Publisher's Weekly)
"If the premise might be the sort that Agatha Christie would have toyed with had she been a 21st-century graduate, Ware’s analysis of the power-games some women revel in – and the toxicity in the undertow of some female friendships – is more reminiscent of Sophie Hannah, Christobel Kent, or even Gillian Flynn and Harriet Lane." (Patricia Nicol Independent)
“In a Dark, Dark Wood packs a noirish punch that would make the Queen of Crime herself proud.” (Bustle)
“[In a Dark, Dark Wood] mixes tropes popularized by such suspense novels as S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl… with Agatha Christie touches. Ware writes with verve and energy, building up the suspense and keeping the pages flying." (Library Journal)
“Ware’s debut novel sets the stage for her to become a household name… Engaging, suspenseful and mysterious.” (RT Book Reviews)
"Just try to guess how sinister this plot can get (hint: VERY)." (Marie Claire)
"You’ll find it almost impossible to put this twisting, electrifying debut down...[The] foggy atmosphere and chilling revelations will leave you breathless.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“WARNING: This book is hot. Do not pick it up late at night or if you are in a dark, dark wood...Ruth Ware has a gift. This British author’s first foray into fiction is a hit…it delivers a punch and keeps you guessing—an ideal August psychodrama that reminds us why mysteries remain such fun—except at night.” (The New York Journal of Books)
“An enchantingly unsettling thriller with mysterious characters and a classically spooky setting.” (Shelf Awareness)
“The best thing about In A Dark, Dark Wood is the eerie atmosphere it creates for this ill-fated weekend, never overwrought, just ominous enough, the glass house where the guests are trapped ‘dark and silent, blending into the trees, almost invisible.’” (USAToday.com)
"The pulse-quickening plot of In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware will keep you up until the small hours." (Good Housekeeping, UK)
"Ruth Ware's stunning first novel (catch it before the inevitable film) digs into all the hidden horrors of female 'friendship'; suddenly, the old playground secrets come slithering out." (Saga, UK)
"A sinister mood lurks in [In a Dark, Dark Wood]." (Elle Magazine, UK)
“Fans of Gone Girl and Girlon a Train will love Ruth Ware’s gripping In a Dark, Dark Wood.Amnesia, a bachelorette party and alcohol fuel this twisty, suspense novel.” (Campus Circle)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
To compare this to Gone Girl or even the inferior Girl on a Train is quite insulting to both those books and authors. Gone Girl had a very clever and
complicated plot; this book's plot is basic, boring, and predictable. I figured it out, and many of it's "twists", early on.
Light-weight and maybe exciting to...16 year olds?
Oh- and soon to be a "major motion picture"- of course!
Not scary or suspenseful at any point. ( love the quote from Reese Witherspoon on the cover- is she going to be in the move?)
So many things in this book took away my suspension of disbelief - ***SPOILERS****
-These characters talk/act like they're 16, not 26. I suppose that's fitting, being that the motive revolves around stupid high school drama. It's just not believable for characters that old.
-Conveniently, there is a shotgun in the house. Of course, the author has to go on and on that it's loaded with blanks....I can't imagine where THIS is going.
-Texts are sent from Nora's phone when she's out for her run. Well, it's 2015 and I don't know anyone who doesn't password-protect their phone.
-I'm supposed to believe that Nina is a doctor at the ripe ol' age of 28. She also smokes like a chimney. Ooookay.
-I'm also supposed to believe that Nora couldn't just leave after the first night. You're an adult, you hardly know these people, you can leave.
-I'm supposed to believe that Clare was so insistent that Nora attend the Hen Party but not her wedding. And I'm supposed to believe that Nora would actually GO? Nope, who DOES that?
That said, I give it two stars because it did entertain me, and I did finish it.
And, can I just say that I loathe when authors use character names that are so similar - Nora, Nina. There's a trillion names out there in the universe - why pick such similar names? It can be confusing for the reader.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are so many well done reviews of 1 or 2 stars that I don't want to repeat what so many others have more than adequately stated.Read more
irrelevant details.Read more