In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Who can I trust if I can't even trust myself.
In a dark dark wood tells the story of a hen do gone wrong. Told from the perspective of Nora we follow her story as she travels to a house deep in the woods in Northumberland for Clare, her childhood best friend's hen party weekend. Nora is surprised when she gets an invitation to Clare's hen do as they have not spoken to each other in 10 years. However Clare's maid of honour, Flo, is adamant that Clare really wants her to attend and it would mean a lot if she was to be there. Along with another childhood friend Nina, Nora agrees to attend despite her reservations as to the motive behind her invite.
The hen party is a small weekend away with only 6 people attending. Staying in Flo's aunt's glass house in the middle of the woods, the plan is for everybody to reconnect and enjoy one last fun care free weekend before the wedding. However things soon begin to go wrong. We already know from the opening pages that Nora has ended up in hospital but how? And Why? What has happened in the woods? Who is responsible? These are the questions we are about to answer.
This reminded me of an old dinner party murder mystery. The hen party is isolated out in the woods, everyone is a suspect and everyone is also a potential victim. There are motives for so many different outcomes as we read through the hen party weekend. The twist on the old dinner party murder mystery is that in this one we don't begin with a murder victim. We don't even know what has happened or who it has happened to. All of this unravels as we read through the events that unfold throughout the weekend. There are reasons for people wanting to kill each and every one of the people on the hen. There are people throughout who you could imagine becoming unhinged and hurting people. There is talk of locals who are angry with the glass house being built in the woods. There are footprints in the snow which don't seem to belong to anyone on the hen weekend. Is Nora the only person to get hurt? Does everyone survive the weekend? Who is responsible for Nora being hospitalised? Why exactly was she invited to the hen do after not speaking to the bride to be for a decade? There is a lot of mystery surrounding the events of the weekend and this one will keep you turning the pages to find out exactly what has happened. It turns out to be one of the first thoughts I had yet there is enough misdirection and good red herrings thrown in that I wasn't at all confident in my guess and had to keep reading as quickly as possible to find out. Once I got into the story I couldn't wait to find out all the answers!
This one is a fairly quick read. I read it in one sitting, racing to the end to find out what was going on. If you enjoy the old style murder mysteries and are prepared to suspend your disbelief for a few hours then I would definitely recommend this modern take on the old 'Whodunit'. A terrific debut thriller and i will definitely be reading Ruth Ware's next effort as well. I would rate this as a 4 out of 5, a thrilling mystery and a great quick read.