Friday, February 3, 2017

2/3/17 - In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware - book review

While at the airport, waiting for my flight to Texas, I happened upon a bookstore and went in.  I had seen this title come up in my Audible feed, so I thought I'd take a look.  Inside, and on the cover, were glowing reviews.  This is not one.

Have you ever had a book that you wanted to throw across the room upon completion?  I wanted to with this one.

From an editorial review:

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

Back to me:

Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood is her debut thriller and New York Times bestseller.  Set in the U.K., there were a few words, or usage of words, I was unfamiliar with.  My problem, not hers.  The main character, Leonora Shaw (aka/Nora, Lee, Leo) is a reclusive writer that receives an invitation from an unknown person, Flo, to attend a hen party (bachelorette) weekend for a friend she hasn't heard from in 10 years, Clare.  On the email invitation she recognizes a friend's name, Nina, and they decide what the hell.  Nora wrestles with this for a while because she hasn't seen Clare, or even heard from her in so long.  Why would she be invited to a weekend away, in a "glass castle" for a hen party when she hasn't been invited to the wedding.  First clue.  This glass castle is in...wait for it...a dark, dark wood.  Once there, these twenty-somethings, meet Flo, some crazy, obsessive, maid-of-honor to Clare that looks like Clare and dresses like her.  Second clue.  They also meet new mommy Melanie that both Nora and Nina have met before.  This character could have easily been removed from the script, but I digress.  They also meet Tom, yeah, a dude at the hen party.  Both Nora and Nina have met Tom before but weren't close.  Finally, after all the guests that were to attend were there, the hen, Clare shows up. 

The glass castle is Flo's aunt's summer house and she obsesses over keeping it clean, but more so on no one ruining her party for Clare.  Flo has so many sophomoric games for them to play, but no pink boa's.  They go skeet shooting, they play on the Ouija board, they play "Never, have I ever" they have drinking games, the list goes on and on.  You throw in some coke, a gun that was supposed to be loaded with blanks a scary night where an intruder is shot and then dies and you have a suspense-thriller.

I'll give credit where credit is due, after the initial disappointment of it being a "scary" book, I enjoyed the suspense.  I absolutely HATED the ending, that's where the idea of throwing the book across the room came from.  I normally write book reviews for publishers and therefore, receive the book free.  Dang it, I paid for this one.

To recommend or not to, it's up to you.  If you enjoy suspense thrillers, go for it.  The movie will probably be better.

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