Ruth Ware's debut thriller "In a Dark, Dark Wood" opens with a twenty-something crime writer lying in a hospital room confused, battered, and more than a little uneasy. As her thoughts begin to clear, she starts to piece together the days and hours prior that all began at her estranged high school friend's hen party. Or, as we'd say in the States, bachelorette party. It's been ten years since they've seen each other, and awkward doesn't begin to describe their deadly reunion.
Set in the woods (dark ones, of course) of modern-day England, the main character, Lenora, spends a harrowing weekend with a group of people to celebrate her old friend's impending marriage. But, unlike the U.S. version of sending off your singledom with a bar crawl wearing a veil and a "bride" t-shirt—this party takes place at a house outside of London and it's far enough from civilization that cell phone service is sketchy at best. The stage is now set for bad things to unfold.
Ware's psychological drama isn't at the Stephen King level of creepy that has you sleeping with the lights on, and it's not so complex that you need a roadmap to keep up with who did what and where, but there's no question that it's a page-turner. Although this is more of a gateway book into darker tales with more intricate plots, there's no doubt that you'll be riveted throughout and eager to see which one of the motley crew of characters committed the crime.
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