May 9, 2023

What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall



Flatiron Books | 28 February 2023 | 336 pgs
Source: Library 

Naomi, Cassidy and Olivia are best friends since their childhood days. During those times they spent a lot of their moments roaming the woods and playing the Goddess Game - their own game made up of three different goddesses who they believe to have their own strengths and magic. Some might say they're simply silly girls game, but the three girls think their imaginative goddesses play an important part in their lives and they gave them courage and confidence. Sadly, their happiness came to a halt after Naomi was attacked and she lived to identity the perpetrator who stabbed her seventeen times. Alan Michael Stahl was eventually put in prison after the girls' testimony and for nearly two decades they've somehow left that horrifying past behind until Alan's death (of cancer) in prison brought back their unpleasant memories. 

Naomi, now a wedding photographer who struggles to make ends meet, reunites with her two friends in Chester after hearing Olivia's remark about coming clean from a secret they've since hidden those two decades ago. To complicate matters, Naomi is approached by a guy named Ethan who does podcast and he's interested in interviewing her, especially he has some questions surrounding Alan's trial and her testimony. These circumstances propel the story forward as the reader learn more about the past through flashbacks and the present through Naomi's unreliable narrative as she come to realise that her memory of that fateful day might be tainted. 

To begin with, I enjoyed the author's writing. The story was engaging and her characters were well described and well developed. However I've to say while there are some parts which are good, there are times I wished some chapters read quickly instead of fillers. Naomi's narrative was well done but I didn't like some of the decisions she made, e.g. how silly to explore the crime scene alone. As far as the suspense goes, there are some clich√©s and predictability but there was the final twist which I didn't see coming, which was a good thing. This book is Kate Alice Marshall's debut adult thriller but she's written novels for YA and middle grade. I can't wait to read what she'll write next. 
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4 comments:

  1. I always cringe when a character goes off by themselves where they shouldn't without telling anyone else in books like this. I want to shake them and tell them, "No!" Haha This sounds like a good thriller. An unexpected twist at the end is a big plus! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Melody!

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    1. Wendy - Indeed! I just hope these kind of scenarios will serve as a warning to people about their safety.

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  2. I hate when characters do stupid things like going to a crime scene by themselves! Are they asking to die? ;D Despite Naomi's questionable decisions, I'm glad you ended up enjoying this one. It's another on my TBR list.

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    1. Lark - I hope you'll enjoy it when you get to it, Lark. And I'll be curious of your thoughts, too. :)

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