Here’s a good book buying tip for you: when a major actress like Reese Witherspoon has blurbed a book, you can generally assume it’s going to be worthwhile. Now I know what you’re thinking; “But Anne, aren’t we just buying into the publicity plan that the publisher has laid out for us?”. The answer is yes, you are. But Hollywood actresses don’t just willy nilly blurb books, they’ve got better stuff to do than lend a helping hand to the publishing industry. So clearly, Simon and Schuster has gone out of their way to get this blurb, which couldn’t have been easy, even if Reese is making a movie of the book. And publishers aren’t stupid, they wouldn’t waste their time on a dud of a book, they clearly thought In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware was worth the effort. Not surprisingly, I’m on board as well.
The story is about a small, intimate bachlorette party taking place in completely glass house in the middle of the woods over a weekend. That alone is creepy right? They could have played board games the entire time and I still would have been nervous for them. But of course, someone ends up dying, and there are drugs and alcohol involved, so it’s difficult to say who is really doing what. What else makes this book freaky? The party attendees (four girls, one guy) all play with a Ouija board, and scare themselves silly when an unexpected message comes up.
Ware uses a common tactic in her plot development where she starts off the book in the future, with one character in the hospital, injured, and recently discovering that a murder investigation is taking place. So, before we even get into the woods, we know something bad is going to happen. As the book progresses, we return to that hospital room every few chapters to learn another tiny piece of information while the story also unfolds in the glass house. Slowly, we start to put the puzzle together of what happened that weekend, along with the protagonist. My only complaint about this book is Ware’s decision to jump back and forth in time like that. The atmosphere of this book is so important; we need to be creeped out about the situation as much as the characters on display in their glass cage, but the scenes in the hospital are an interruption to this build-up of the creep factor. It returned the reader to a ‘safe place’, whereas Ware would have been better off leaving us to squirm in the woods.
Despite that, I still really enjoyed this book, I raced through its pages, so take a page from a famous Hollywood actress and pick it up.