Sunday, July 3, 2016
In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Lenora Shaw is surprised by the invitation. She and Clare had been best friends in elementary and high school but haven't seen each other in a decade and have totally lost track of each other. Lenora tends to be reclusive, staying in her apartment writing crime thrillers and is happy with her life. But now here's this invitation to Clare's hen or bachelorette party. Nora doesn't even know who Clare is marrying and she didn't get an invitation to the wedding. She's tempted to ignore it, but her other high school buddy, Nina, contacts her to say she is also invited and they should go together. Nora reluctantly agrees to go.
The party is being held in winter at a remote house owned by the party's host's aunt. The house has huge glass windows everywhere and is nestled in the woods. At night, all those windows make the setting like a stage as those within are easily seen from the outside; their every movement followed.
The other guests are new to Nora and Nina. Flo, who is giving the party, constantly reminds everyone she is 'Clare's best friend'. She seems insecure and needy, jealous of any attention the others receive. Tom is a playwright and successful in the theatre scene. Melanie is a new mother who has left her baby behind for the first time ever and is miserable. Then there is Clare, charismatic, witty, yet ruthlessly cruel and determined to have her own way. The groom's identity is the first surprise to Nora, and there are others. The house is gloomy, the party participants mismatched and when the phone lines go down, the setting begins to feel malicious.
This is a debut novel that has gotten a ton of buzz. It is an NPR Best Book Of The Year for 2015, as well as a Shelf Awareness Best Book. Publishers Weekly named it as a 'Top Ten Mysteries and Thrillers' entry. It has already been optioned for a major movie release. Readers will enjoy the quick read, although those who are confirmed mystery readers will find the clues fairly simple and the events easy to predict. The pace is fast and the foreboding done well. This book is recommended for mystery readers.