I put off reading this book for months and months. I’d heard it was absolutely terrifying, and I’m a fraidy-cat. It wasn’t terrifying. It also wasn’t worth the wait.
The narrator, a woman named Leonora (Nora), is a writer living alone in London. Like every young, single female protagonist in every mystery that’s been published in the past 10 years or so, Nora’s hiding a dark secret from her past, something that will be slowly revealed throughout the course of the novel.
She heads to a country house to celebrate the hen party (bachelorette party) of her old friend Clare, someone she hasn’t seen or spoken to in ten years. She’s suspicious at even being invited to the party in the first place, but goes anyway out of morbid curiosity. Naturally, this is a huge mistake on her part and the party quickly goes to shit.
Now, I love mysteries. I love trying to figure out what really happened, and who the bad guy really is, but, as it happens, I’m terrible at solving mysteries. I never solve them before the climax. Never. But I solved the mystery in In a Dark, Dark Wood as soon as the crucial clue was revealed. Normally I never even notice the crucial clue until it’s pointed out at the end of the book. Why did I figure it out this time? I think it has less to do with my amazing powers of deduction and more to do with the fact that Ware is incredibly heavy-handed with the clues. There’s a shotgun mounted over the fireplace (something that would not seem out of place to me in a country cabin), but when a character sees it and immediately mentions Chekhov, well, suddenly it was pretty clear somebody was going to get shot.
I didn’t hate this book. I still enjoyed the story, and Ruth Ware is an engaging writer. It’s a quick read. All in all, though, I’m glad it’s finally off my list.