In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Nora hasn't heard from her friend Clare in over 10 years, until she receives an invite to her "hen party" (bachelorette party for us Americans) from one of Clare's friends. Clare and Nora were the best of friends in school, until a series of events brought them apart, and she eventually decides to attend, along with their friend Nina. However, when Nora and Nina arrive, they gather with a group of Clare's friends at an isolated house in the woods. Things seem off from the beginning and go downhill from there.
This book was a juggernaut that I couldn't stop reading. It was a fast read with a captivating plot that overcame some of its other flaws, mainly some mildly annoying characters who lacked development and performed some outlandish actions based on the past. The book unfolds from Nora's point of view in bits and pieces, and she's an unreliable narrator as well (suffering from some memory loss), which really allows the suspense to build. Note that despite the title, it's not a scary book, per se, just a thriller or mystery. It's a fun read, trying to piece together the various threads to reach the conclusion. I felt a little bad for those caught up in the schoolhouse games of the characters, for sure.
Overall, would have liked to have gotten to know the characters and their motivations a bit more (some very high stakes actions occur, which are a little hard to believe - a lot of the plot requires suspending disbelief at times, if you really think things through), but still an enjoyable and fast-paced thriller. 3.5 stars.
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