Harvill Secker | July 2015 | 352 pgs
Leonora Shaw hasn't been in contact with her schoolmates for ten years. Now at twenty-six and a crime fiction writer, she is intrigued by an email inviting her to attend an old friend's hen party. Clare Cavendish is getting married soon but it is Clare's friend, Flo, who is coordinating the party. Nora and Clare used to be best friends, but Flo on the other hand is a complete stranger to her. Nora isn't sure if she wants to go, after all it has been ten years and it would be awkward, but she sees her other friend, Nina da Souza, is on the emailing list as well. In the end, Nora decided to attend, for she knew she is also very curious why Clare has chosen to invite her to the hen party but not her wedding.
Unlike any other bachelorette parties, Clare's hen party is held at Flo's aunt's glass house in the woods. It is remote and the telephone connection is bad, but Flo assures them that they have all the privacy and people rarely step their foot there, at least not during winter periods. While the rest of the group doesn't really bothered by the fully clear glass house, Nora couldn't help feeing scrutinised but most of all, she doesn't really know the group except for Clare and Nina.
The mystery comes in when there is a murder in the glass house. Suddenly, everyone becomes a suspect and as Nora lies on the hospital bed after the bloody aftermath, she has to rely on her memories (which she couldn't remember) what had happened and the motive of the murder.
Told in a first person narrative by Nora, In a Dark, Dark Wood is an absorbing read and I could see why this book would make a good book club discussion. Fast-pace and foreboding, this is what made it a page-turner though I didn't really feel connected to the characters. Most of them are unlikeable and leave a reader with doubts, but I suppose this is how it goes with the story's direction and the thrills it evoke as we read further. As much as I was enticed with the premise, I felt there is something lacking with the logical sense of some circumstances but then I am not going to delve into them for they would be spoilers. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this debut novel by Ruth Ware (and all the more with her latest release, The Woman in Cabin 10) and I know I will be looking out for her future releases.