In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is an anxiety filled psychological thriller, it makes you fill claustrophobic but yet on display. This is my second Ruth Ware novel I caught the hype train and read The Women in Cabin 10, I have to say I liked this one a whole lot better. my main complaint is it ended the mystery too soon and In the Dark, Dark Wood keeps you guessing until the end. The reviews blurbs on the cover do imply scary mainly Reese Witherspoon’s “Prepare to be scared … really scared!”, this book is a long panic attack, you are in a character’s mind living her worst case scenario with some added memory loss that really puts her on edge. The twist are mainly small but there’s a couple large ones, but the novel is mainly atmospheric. This book is scheduled to be a movie soon.
The Plot: Nora or Lenora is found in the dark woods, covered in blood and bruises, with most of her fingernails broken and battered, she has no memory other than she was a guest a a bachelorette (or the British version a hen party) at a remote cabin in the woods. Nora takes us through how she got invited to the party. Nora a Crime writer gets an invite from Clare trough her over ambitious friend Flo. Nora thinks there must be a mistake Clare had a falling out 10 years ago, she looks through the guest list and sees the one person she knows from the past, Nina they message and Nina is just as surprised at the invite as Nora. They each dare each other to go, something they will both soon regret.
What I Liked: As someone who has had bouts with anxiety, the description are right on and put you in that space. Nina was by far my favorite character, great sassy character that is not afraid to speak her mind and make a situation uncomfortable. I loved all the allegories to stages and play acting, and how it fit so well with all the reveals. I like the atmospheric tension with the setting. I was satisfied with the the reveals and reasons of the antagonist. There some great uncomfortable humor at one character’s expense that had me laugh out loud once, and chuckle. The ouija board scene is the by far my favorite scene.
What I Disliked: I felt no police would allow a suspect to have all the free reign with visitors, and the hospital administration letting almost anyone with no relation back to see a patient. The novel had some good twist but for the climax there’s a scene that is so telegraphed I kept rolling my eyes, other reviewers have really harped on this scene, it was a misstep but I didn’t let it effect my rating too much with the other twist and turns landing.
Recommendations: If you’re looking for a good solid mystery then this one works, there’s no big twist that change everything but twist that for the most part keep you guessing. I will recommend this book to people curious about what happens to your mind and body during a panic attack, if you’ve never had one. I rated In a Dark, Dark Wood 4 out of 5 stars this has restored my faith in Ruth Ware since I gave The Women in Cabin 10 3 stars.