In a Dark, Dark Wood

Bachelorette Parties.

Everyone has a story about one, don’t we? There’s even movies about them now. That one last weekend of drunken madness before the wedding.

Usually those stories are laughable–who kissed the most random guys at the bar, or who drank a few too many shots and ended up with their skirt outside of their panties. Oops!

But every once in awhile…Bachelorette Parties–or Hen Nights–can turn quite ugly.

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Ruth Ware writes about one such Hen Night way out In a Dark, Dark Wood. Nora finds out her high school best friend is getting married, and while she isn’t invited to the wedding (strange), she is invited to the party (stranger). She’s curious enough to join in, mostly to find out what exactly is going on with Clare and why she suddenly wants to get back in touch. Instead of the fun, girly weekend she expects, however, it turns into a horrific nightmare.

From the beginning, Ware sets up the suspense by making Nora out to be slightly unstable. We don’t know exactly what happened in her past until the end, so she comes across as more than a little neurotic. The tension between the two ex-friends builds layer upon layer, and she also uses flash-forward plot separations to really beef up the upcoming thrill.

When you get drunk on Hen Night, secrets come out. And bad things can happen when they do. Lucky for us…those bad things make great books. It’s released today, so go check it out!

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. Releases on July 30.

64 Deaths

Normally, I save short stories to read one at a time, rather than all at once. And had I known 64 Deaths was an anthology of short stories, that’s probably what I would have done. So, I am REALLY glad I did not realize it was a book of short stories until I was a few “chapters” in.

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Christina Escamilla’s anthology is WONDROUS. I’m not going to say it’s necessarily happy. Because with a title like 64 Deaths, you can probably figure out that this is not a joy-filled grouping. And it’s not. I didn’t count the deaths in the story, to see if there were exactly 64–that’s not the number of stories, so I’m not sure what that number is meant to represent. There is a story in the collection that is called 64 Deaths,” so that may be all it is.

The stories are extremely varied:  some are horror, some are suspense. Some are hopeful, some are devastating. There are different kinds of deaths too, some are suicide, some are murder. There are metaphorical deaths, there are supernatural deaths. There are even one or two non-human deaths.

All of the stories are extremely well written, and definitely have a beauty of their own. I will tell you to proceed with caution, as there are a few here that could trigger some people, but, there is a moral at the end that I think everyone should read.

I think fans of Stephen King, Joe Hill, and especially Neil Gaiman are really going to like this anthology. Just make sure that you have a happy book picked out to read next on your list.

 

This fulfills PopSugar #12:  A book of short stories.