What I found particularly disturbing in Ruth Ware’s creepy In a Dark, Dark Wood was the cabin itself, which for me provided the utmost in scariness. Smack dab in the middle of a deserted wooded area sits a house made entirely of glass. The trees provide the only cover, but also the spookiness. There is no privacy and no protection.
Nora is a 26-year-old writer who is invited to a friend’s bachelorette party that is being held in the glass house in the dark, dark woods. Though she has literally not spoken to her friend in over a decade, she agrees to attend. I admit I found that premise to be suspect. Why is she invited, and why on earth would she accept?
Upon arriving at the glass house, Nora learns that the man to whom her friend is engaged is none other than her old boyfriend, someone who broke her heart years before and for whom she has pined ever since.
The gathering includes a decidedly unsettling group of friends, particularly the woman who has put the weekend together. She seemed to come straight from a Stephen King novel.
Somewhere in the middle of the book (yes, it takes that long), the groom-to-be is murdered right there in the house. Why was he there and guess who all clues point to? Yes, the murderer can only be Nora herself.
Except we know it’s not her. But the reader really doesn’t know who the murderer is until the very end because the book has a multitude of red herrings.
I’m sounding cynical, but I actually liked the book a lot. It was spooky enough, but not enough to keep a reader awake at night. The setting and the author’s descriptions provide a sinister element that is suitably spooky.
My main complaint is the lack of a realistic premise. I can’t see any reason why Nora agreed to attend, nor does Nora’s fixation with the groom, with whom she had a brief high school relationship, seem convincing.
Still, I recommend the book. I am looking forward to reading Ware’s newest book The Woman in Cabin 10. It is reported to be the next The Girl on the Train. That’s a shock, isn’t it?