Leonora Shaw is a solitary woman. She writes crime novels for a living from her miniscule flat in London. She is a runner (another solitary pursuit). She wasn’t always a private, solitary person. Back at school, she had a social life, a best friend, Clare AND a boyfriend, James. Officially her name is Leonora, but Clare calls her Lee, and James always calls her Leo.
Leo, Clare, and James have a secret.
Then James and Leo break up. It wasn’t her choice, he dumped her by text. Even ten years later she has never gotten over it.
Now, at age twenty-six Nora (the name she goes by now) has not seen Clare or James for ten years. When she receives an email invitation to Clare’s ‘hen do’, she is hesitant at first, then with the urging of her only friend Nina, they make a pact to go together.
Though many people were invited only six actually turn up. It is no wonder as the location is remote Northumberland near the Scottish border. The ‘hen’ is hosted by Clare’s current best friend, Flo and the party is to be held at Flo’s aunt’s house in Kielder Forest. An eerie, modern, glass walled house surrounded by “a dark, dark, wood”. Atmospheric?? Oh yeah!
Then, to make matters worse, a late November snow begins to fall. The cellular reception is very poor in this remote location and now… the landline is no longer functioning.
And oh, did I mention, there is a shotgun mounted on the wall of the living room?In a different time line, Nora wakes up in a hospital. With an astounding headache and myriad cuts, bruises, and other injuries, She is struggling to remember the events prior to her hospitalization… As the memories gradually surface, she realizes that she is under police guard – and that there has been a ‘murder’!!!
Desperate now to remember what happened, her memory takes her back to that fateful night… All she really wants now is to know the truth.
This is Ruth Ware’s debut novel and the praise it has garnered is well deserved. The pacing was ‘spot on’ and the atmosphere was chilling. It is yet another novel that brings home the premise that you can never really know another person, AND, that revenge is a dish best served cold.
Ruth Ware’s second novel “The Woman in Cabin 10” is out now. It is on my TBR!
Many thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing my with a digital copy of this novel in exchange for my candid review.
Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller. You can follow her on Twitter @ruthwarewriter