In A Dark, Dark Wood is a psychological thriller by Ruth Ware that takes place in a remote cabin in the woods, setting the stage for a classic locked-room mystery. The novel follows the story of Nora, a writer who receives an unexpected invitation to attend a bachelorette party for an old friend she hasn’t seen in years, Clare.
The party is held at a glass-walled cabin in the middle of the woods, and from the beginning, Nora is uncomfortable with the isolated setting and the strange mix of guests. As the party progresses, tensions rise, and secrets are revealed. When a violent incident occurs in the middle of the night, the guests are trapped in the cabin with no way out, and the mystery begins.
One of the strengths of the novel is its atmosphere. The setting of the remote cabin in the woods is claustrophobic and unsettling, and Ware uses this to great effect, creating a sense of tension and foreboding that is present throughout the book. The glass walls of the cabin also add to the feeling of being trapped, as the characters are constantly exposed and vulnerable.
The characters themselves are another strength of the novel. Each of the guests at the bachelorette party is complex and flawed, with their own secrets and motivations. Nora, the main character, is a sympathetic and relatable protagonist who is struggling to come to terms with her past. Clare, the bride-to-be, is mysterious and enigmatic, with a past that is slowly revealed over the course of the novel.
The locked-room aspect of the novel is also well-executed. After the violent incident, the guests are trapped in the cabin with no way to call for help or escape. The limited number of suspects and the confined setting make for a classic locked-room mystery, as Nora and the other guests try to figure out who is responsible for the violence and what their motive could be.
One of the weaknesses of the novel, however, is its predictability. While the setting and characters are engaging, the mystery itself is somewhat predictable, and experienced readers of the genre may guess the identity of the culprit early on. Additionally, some of the twists in the novel feel forced and contrived, which can be distracting for readers who are looking for a more organic mystery.
In conclusion, In A Dark, Dark Wood is a well-crafted psychological thriller with a classic locked-room mystery at its heart. The atmosphere and characters are engaging, and the setting creates a sense of claustrophobia and tension that is present throughout the book. While the mystery itself is somewhat predictable, the novel is still an enjoyable read for fans of the genre, particularly those who appreciate a well-crafted setting and complex characters.