- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press; Reprint edition (April 19, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1501112333
- ISBN-13: 978-1501112331
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,897 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In a Dark, Dark Wood Paperback – April 19, 2016
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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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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)
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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.
I did like all the scenes describing her running, and describing the woods and the house. Even describing her life in her little flat in London; I could picture that flat and that quiet life. Reading those scenes in the Kindle preview is what made me buy the book. Like I said, it's fine so long as you're just looking for a quick little read while traveling and keep your expectations low.
The beginning of the book moves slowly, building up to the “promise” of the book (a murder at a hen party or bachelorette party). There’s a lot of the narrator, Leonora (Lee or Nora or Leo depending on who you ask) asking herself why she chose to accept an invitation to a hen party for a woman that she was best friends with in elementary and high school. They haven’t spoken in 10 years. Yes, why? Because the bride to be is a manipulative B whom everyone loves (and sometimes hates to hate). And that is one of the ways that Gone Girl and Dark Dark Wood are very similar – Amy (Gone Girl) and Clare (Dark Dark Wood) are both “good bad characters” (meaning they are well written twits who deserve to be punched in the face for their maniuplativeness, but if someone did punch them, many people who haven’t seen the manipulative side would wonder, “How could you hit HER? She’s so NICE!”).
The book overall is entertaining, but the promised murder doesn’t occur at least until the middle of the book (couldn’t judge pages on my Kindle) and seems to move swiftly from there (whereas the parts before moved more slowly). Once the “suspense/thriller” aspects of the book started, I didn’t want to go to bed – I wanted to finish it and see what happened. There wasn’t much to distract from the story - there were a few editing errors in the Kindle edition, and my brain had to “translate” some of the British to American, but other than that this was a solid and entertaining read.