After reading all of Ruth Ware’s other books, I came back to reading her debut novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood, after finding it in the little free library I am basically stocking every day down the street. It was actually a little spooky because I was on the phone with my grandmother at the time and just as I reach the little free library and reach inside to take the book she says “Oh and I just got the new Ruth Ware book” after we’d been talking about something totally different. Oooh, spooky. I’ve read all her other books (Woman in Cabin 10, Lying Game, Death of Mrs Westaway, and Turn of the Key) and so it was nice to go back to where it all started.
Leonora Shaw (call her Nora…not Lee) is a crime writer living in London when she gets an email inviting her to an old friend’s hen party (Bachelorette weekend). The only problem is…Nora hasn’t talked to the hen, Clare, in ten years, not since Nora left school after a bad breakup ,and she wasn’t even invited to the wedding, just the hen party hosted by Clare’s neurotic friend,Flo. They’re joined by Nina, Tom, and Melissa, and things get intense quick. First, the isolation, then, the tension from long-untended friendships, an intermixing of friends across lifestyles, plus there’s the tension of just exactly WHO Clare is married. Things go to shit quickly with a Chekhov’s gun, a death, and a missing cell phone.
The story is told back and forth as Nora wakes up in a hospital from a car crash and tries to piece together what happened, intermingled with stories from the hen party. Did that police officer say murder? Who is dead? And why is Nora a suspect? I don’t think the ending was the “surprising” to me as someone who reads a lot of these types of books, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It’s not actually that “scary” but it’s gripping and I loved unfolding it.