In a Dark, Dark Wood

by Ruth Ware

In-a-Dark-Dark-Wood-Ruth-WareAuthor Ruth Ware has a gift for turning an ordinary situation — a bachelorette party for a bride — into a blood-bathed nightmare.

Crime writer Nora Shaw is surprised to receive an email from a stranger inviting her to a “hen party” for her former friend Clare Cavindish.

She hasn’t seen Clare in 10 years after a bad parting. Nora is reluctantly persuaded to go by a mutual friend, Nina De Sousa. They take the train up together.

But creepy things about this supposedly cheerful event just pile up. The setting itself — an isolated, glass-walled cottage in a dark woods — is creepy. The shotgun hanging over the fireplace, supposedly loaded with blanks for scaring rabbits out of the garden, is creepy. The lack of cell reception is creepy. The way the landline goes dead after the first snowfall is creepy. The footprints in the snow that nobody will admit to making is creepy.

Flo Clay, the organizer, Clare’s maid of honor and self-described best friend, is creepy. With a history of emotional disturbance, Flo idolizes Clare to the point of dressing like her. Flo flies into a rage and accuses guests of trying to ruin Clare’s special day when they don’t follow Flo’s agenda.

And, then, there’s the kitchen door that just won’t stay locked.

This is a suspenseful book that will keep you turning pages and double-checking your own door locks. It hardly breaks new ground, but Ware’s gift for setting, atmosphere and plot make it an entertaining read.

If you enjoyed this book, you may also enjoy Ware’s novel, THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY, Emily Griffiths’ THE STRANGER DIARIES or Lucy Foley’s THE GUEST LIST.

About the Author: Ruth Ware (1977 – )

Ruth Ware is known for her psychological crime thrillers, IN A DARK, DARK WOOD (2016) was her first novel, followed by THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 (2017), THE LYING GAME (2017) and THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY (2018).

She has been compared to mystery author Agatha Christie, in part for using plots in which a group of people is trapped or restricted from escaping a dangerous, isolated environment.

Her protagonists, ordinary women struggling with poverty, loneliness or broken romances, are vulnerable and prone to self-doubt, easily goaded to paranoia.

The settings that Ware creates — luxury cruise ship at sea, an isolated cottage with many glass walls in a dense forest, a private boarding school and an isolated Cornish mansion — are powerful elements of her stories.

Three of her books — IN A DARK, DARK WOOD, THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 and THE LYING GAME — have been purchased by media companies planning to turn them into movies or television shows.
Ware grew up in Lewes and studied English at Manchester University, where she became fascinated with Old and Middle English texts.  Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a waitress, a bookseller and a publicist.  She currently lives in Brighton.


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