Title: In A Dark Dark Wood
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Suspense and Thriller
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Price in India: Rs. 599 (And as usual, cheaper at e-stores)
Favorite Lines: “You can run…but you can’t escape!” (Pg. 54)
Review: If you have read Agatha Christie, let alone if you are her fan, you read any suspense book and you won’t like it. Christie had the art of writing suspense in such a way that you can’t even predict what the next word would be. And that is what I told a friend of mine, midway through In A Dark Dark Wood, because it got boring. After turning the last page, I now realize as to why did Ruth Ware put the boring part.
In A Dark Dark Wood is the story about a hen party gone all wrong, which eventually leads to murder. No Spoilers. Flo, Clare’s best friend decides to throw Clare a hen just before her marriage, and invites only Tom, Melanie, Nina and Nora. Nora hasn’t spoken to Clare in ten years, and she is still invited. Suspicion is invited from then along. She initially hesitates to go, but eventually does, and then regrets her own decision. Eventually…some things can stay a secret!
So, I was talking of how important to have the monotony to just break it. I think that is what Ware had thought of. Create monotony. Break the monotony. And she does it with beautiful ease. You gotta read this book in one go. It took he a very very long time to read this one, because I got bored, but in my defense I would like to say that no one told me it is such a brilliant book. So pick it up, and read from cover to cover. It even isn’t a very long book.
Coming down to the narrative. I think it is very difficult to write suspense and maintain it. I have tried it so many times, but never does it happen. And Ware does it with perfect ease. She sails through it, without leaving a bit of information or clue here or there. There is nothing you could probably hold onto to find the murderer. On a page you think it’s Nina, on another you think it could be Clare, or Melanie, or Tom, or Flo, or even Nora.
And then when the suspense is out, you think HUH! THIS IS IT? There is a very big clue Ware gives us in the easiest fashion half way through the book, but we are not able to grasp it. Don’t even try looking for it.
I wouldn’t slate this book much as a thriller as much as I would call it a suspense, because the thrilling part, which is the murder, is quick and short. The suspense that entails after the murder adds to the suspense of the hen party, hence qualifying as a suspense book.
Ware’s imagery game is on point. The train to the station, the woods, the glass house, the stairs, the murder, the hospital, the steaming coffee, Lamar’s gold earrings, Nora kneeling down before Lamar, the hospital again, Nina’s blue cardigan, Jess driving them all back to London, I could see a picture of all of this, and much more, specially during the last chapter, when she describes Nora’s feelings for her home and the coffee she makes on her own. I can totally feel returning home after a long tiring trip, not as tiring as Nora’s though!
All in all, I think that this book is a must for Suspense lovers. Ware’s narrative is commendable. Her characterization of Nora is brilliant. She has even made a great deal of effort to carve the other characters, but they just stand in the background. The suspense is terrific. And the way it comes out, even more terrifying.
Praise for In A Dark Dark Wood:
‘Toxic friendships, an isolated house, a dark snowy wood…Everyone’s worst nightmare and the perfect ingredients for this tense, terrifying novel.
-Clare Mackintosh, Author of I Let You Go
Disclaimer: All the above images have been taken from Google. None of them have been created/clicked by me.