Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source: Review copy from Edelweiss
Rating: ★★★★

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.

IN A DARK, DARK WOOD was an enjoyable mystery with an eerie Gothic atmosphere. The overall feel of the book was subtle suspense more than fast-paced thriller, though it kept me hooked with its intriguing set up. The book begins with main character Leonora badly injured and in the hospital, and she doesn’t know what’s happened to put her there. The story switches back and forth between her hospital stay and the days leading up to the incident. Her memory is fuzzy, so the pieces of the puzzle are slowly revealed over time.

What brings Leonora to a creepy glass house in the woods is an invitation to a friend’s bachelorette party – a friend she’s been estranged from for a very long time. In fact, each guest seems like an odd choice to invite. Something is definitely off. The author did a great job giving the story an ominous feeling from the beginning – you’re never quite sure who to trust. The culprit’s reasoning behind the whole weekend was disturbing and surprising. The characters were annoying at times, as they came off as childish for twenty-something adults. Some of the things that went on between them were too hard to believe.

This is Ruth Ware’s debut novel, and quite an entertaining one at that. I’ve already got my eye on her next book. I listened to a big chunk of this book on audio (borrowed from the library), and the narrator, Imogen Church, was fantastic.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.