In A Dark Dark Wood

In A Dark Dark Wood

Mysterious Book Report Special No. 4

by John Dwaine McKenna and Lora Brown

I was over at Rhyolite Press the other day, talking with Ms. Lora Brown.  She’s the Publisher’s Rep., Executive Assistant and all-around Golden Gal who makes sure all our work gets done on time, sent where it’s gotta go and that our little world up here on the Mesa runs with the precision of a jeweled Swiss Chronometer.  As soon as we got the Hi, how-are-yas out of the way, Lora said, “Why aren’t you doing more MBRs featuring women? You hardly ever read books written by women.”

I thought about it for a moment, then said, “Sure I have.  What about Alafair Burke, Denise Mina and Julia Dahl?  We just did her new one last week.”

Lora said, “That’s true, but the vast majority of the reviews are books by, about and for men.”

My wife June, who’d been listening, said, “Lora’s right.  You tend to read all the hard-boiled stuff . . . the kind with a lot of graphic detail in it.  Women don’t always like that, and we make up about 80 percent of the readers today.”

Well, they had me.  They’re right, but on the other hand, I’m the one who finds the novels we review, reads every one from cover-to-cover and then writes a three to five hundred word report about it . . . so I get to pick, and I pick stories that appeal to me. I said all that, but they were ready with sincere, well thought-out rebuttal answers.  And after forty years of marriage to June, plus thirty years of friendship with Lora—they both know how difficult men are to train—and I know how to surrender and accept defeat with dignity.  Here’s what we came up with together:

Every now and then, Lora, June, or another well-read lady will select a novel, read it, make notes about the story arc, theme, plot and what she liked or disliked about it and I’ll use her notes to write a special review, from the female point of view.  We hope you like it and look forward to all of your comments about this new element of the Mysterious Book Report.  Lora Brown is the first of our MBR Special Reporters, and the novel she’s chosen is titled, In A Dark Dark Wood, (Scout Press/Simon & Schuster, $26.00, 310 pages, ISBN 978-1-5011-1231-7) by Ruth Ware.  It’s a debut novel that’s tense, tightly- written and suspenseful.  It features a reclusive  young writer named Leonora—called Nora by some of her acquaintances and Lee by others—who accepts an invite to a ‘hen party’ from an old friend she hasn’t heard from, or talked to, for at least ten years.  Forty-eight hours later, she wakes  up in the  hospital with  the knowledge that someone is dead . . . and she may be the killer . . . but she can’t remember anything, other than a shotgun going off, and her ex-fiancé James lying dead on the floor.

MBR Special Reviewer Lora Brown says that This well-written and carefully crafted psychological thriller will keep the reader enthralled and completely entertained as Nora tries to unravel the mystery, prove her innocence and regain the cozy confines of her apartment, the only place on earth where she feels safe, happy and totally secure. Five Stars.  Suitable for teens on up.

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In a Dark Dark Wood



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