“In a Dark Dark Wood” by Ruth Ware

I’m 28. I’m at the age where most of my friends have recently gotten engaged or married, or are on their way. So bachelorette parties have been on regular rotation as of late. I’ve been to D.C., Ocean City, and Atlantic City and will be heading to Charlottesville in a few weeks, all in the name of penis straws, bride-to-be sashes, shots of Fireball, and “Never Have I Ever.” Maybe that is why I enjoyed In a Dark Dark Wood  so much, because I felt that I could somewhat relate. Although, thankfully, none of my recent bachelorette adventures have included a murder.

In a Dark Dark Wood begins with Nora/Lee/Lenora receiving a random invitation to her long lost BFF Clare’s hen party (British for bachelorette.) She can’t get a feel for why she was invited, but after talking to another mutual friend decides there’s no hurt in going. The hen party gathers in an almost fully glass cabin in the middle of the woods, ready to celebrate bride-to-be away from civilization.

Nora can’t admit to the group that she hasn’t spoken to Clare in over ten years, she isn’t invited to the wedding, and she doesn’t even know who Clare is marrying, without ruining the illusion that she and Clare are blissfully reunited in the name of love and everlasting friendship.

The book alternates between scenes of tequila shots and bumps of cocaine, and Nora in the aftermath in a hospital bed, no memory of the two nights prior. I enjoyed the flipping back and forth, I felt that it added to the suspense and whodunit appeal.

A story of murder, marriage rituals and dark jealous friendships, In a Dark Dark Wood will keep you on the edge of your seat as a quick, thrilling read.

4/5 stars.

www.ruthware.com

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

http://www.gillian-flynn.com

I just finished this summer’s mega-hit Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn last night. It was OUT. OF. CONTROL. Seriously. Crazy or psychotic would be the best way to sum it up in one word. Along with AMAZING.

I really don’t know how I am possibly going to review and summarize this without giving everything away (well, not everything…just when you think you know one secret, 300 more follow.) But let’s give this a shot. First let me preface this by saying I am a sucker for a solid depressing story. Sometimes I think it just makes me feel better about my own life and how normal and happy it is. If you’re looking for fun, glamorous chick-lit, STAY AWAY, this will not be your cup of tea.

Gone Girl can be considered a mystery or a thriller, if you are trying to fit it into a category. But truthfully, it is unlike anything I have ever read. I found it shocking and disturbing, yet ultimately delicious. I literally had nightmares after reading this book before bed!

The story starts off in small town Missouri, where Nick Dunne’s beautiful wife Amy has turned up missing. As the police become involved, they soon discover evidence that suggests Amy has not just gone missing, it is more likely that she has been killed. And that evidence is blatantly implicating Nick as the killer. The case soon becomes national news, especially because of Amy’s semi-celebrity status—she is the inspiration for a children’s book empire that her parents, two authors, have created.  The country quickly turns against Nick and we are left wondering whether they are in the right or wrong.

The first person narration alternates chapters between Nick and Amy, as told through her diary entries. Nick speaks about what is currently going on in the case and the impact the investigation is having on his own psyche, as well as his close friends, family, and community. Amy paints a picture of her slowly declining relationship with Nick. The two begin completely in love and infatuated with each other. But after they move from New York City to Missouri, they start to drift apart and their marriage becomes darker and more dysfunctional by the day. I personally loved the alternating view points and thought it kept things even more suspenseful. I often times found myself finishing a chapter by Nick, then wanting to skip through Amy’s chapter to know what happened to Nick’s situation, and vice versa.

As a reader, you will constantly go back and forth between thinking that Nick is guilty, and then believing him that he is innocent. So be prepared to be stressed out over this. A LOT. Okay, actually, be prepared to be stressed out over everything in this book. It starts out a little slow, but press on until you get exactly halfway through the book. Then all of a sudden, BAM! Craziness will be unleashed! At the midway point I seriously felt as if Gillian Flynn had slapped me straight across the face…and I loved it. It continues to get more and more nuts the further the story goes. I’ve heard a lot of criticism about the ending. I will not ruin it for you, but I will just say that I LOVED the ending. I thought it was perfect. Fitting, believable, and psychotic all at once.

Okay, let me stop before I give anything away—I am so tempted! Be prepared for a haunting tale that will resonate in a surprising and uncomfortable way for every reader, making you question your relationships and the people around you. At one point during reading I literally looked at my boyfriend (who I’ve been dating for almost a decade and have known since middle school) and said “I am SO glad I have known you practically all of your life. It keeps me from running the risk of you being a psycho and me not knowing about it.” But really, you can’t help but thinking that after reading this book.