Tag Archives: Ruth Ware

The Lying Game

shopping-1   Ruth Ware is back with another quiet and tense thriller – The Lying Game.  With an eerie Gothic setting, human bones found near a boarding school, and a group of schoolgirls who made lying an art, Ware creates a murder mystery with enough red herrings and sudden reveals to keep the reader wondering about the girls’ secret. In a clever twist of plot, the crime seems to be revealed early in the book, but the wary reader will be justified to hold back judgment.  Everyone is lying after all – even the author.  Not as riveting as Dark Dark Wood or The Woman in Cabin 10, but The Lying Game has Ware’s steady hand as she mystifies and teases; the ending is almost an afterthought as the secrets unravel; a great book to read on a dark and stormy night.

Review of Other Ruth Ware Mysteries:

 

The Woman in Cabin 10

9781501132933_p0_v3_s192x300   Sometimes a scary novel is a welcome alternative to reality, and Ruth Ware has the right formula in The Woman in Cabin 10.  On the eve of the big political debate in the United States, with the two prospective Presidents ready to attack each other on live television, I found myself avoiding the front pages and the review sections of the New York Times, glancing at the arts section and opting instead to read Ware’s book – on the bestseller list now for weeks.   Starting slowly with a burglary and escalating quickly into a mystery thriller on an elite ocean liner, The Woman in Cabin 10 successfully delivered me from real political moments to a solvable mystery.

Although the narrator, journalist Lo Blacklock, fits the role of unreliable narrator with her alcoholic stupors, panic attacks, antidepressants, and general wide-eyed fawn caught in the headlights persona, the author’s description of the setting makes Blacklock’s accusations seem plausible.  You almost expect a dead body to come floating up from the depths of the ocean.

“When I got to the door that opened to the deck, a wall of gray greeted me behind the glass, blanketing the ship in its folds so you could barely see from one end of the deck to the other, giving a strange, muffled feeling.  The mist had brought a chill to the air, fogging the hairs on my arms with drizzle, and as I stood uncertainly in the lee of the doorway, shivering and trying to get my bearings, I heard the long, mournful boom of a fog horn.”

Blacklock is convinced a woman has been thrown overboard on her first night at sea, and suspects passengers, including her ex-boyfriend, as well as the crew.  Her story seems to be the traumatic aftereffect of the burglary in her apartment the night before she sailed; no one is missing on the ship, and clues that appear only to Blacklock could be dismissed as her imagination or hysteria.  Was there ever a woman in Cabin 10?

To add to the confusion, Ware inserts missives projecting forward to the end of the cruise, but in the middle of the action and as Blacklock continues with her narrative – news, after the cruise has docked, proclaiming the disappearance of Blacklock from the ship and the finding of a dead woman’s body washed ashore.  The reader knows Blacklock is still alive because her narrative continues and the next shock will give you Vertigo.  No spoilers here but let me know if you get my reference after you read the book.

In a combination of Agatha Christie and O’Henry, Ware manages to tie up all the loose threads at the end of the book and provide a surprise ending.  A great read – fast and furious, I read it in a sitting – thankfully, not before I went to bed.

As for the great debate tomorrow, now I know it can’t be as scary nor as satisfying as Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10.

Related Review:  In a Dark Dark Wood

 

In a Dark, Dark Wood

9781501112324_p0_v4_s192x300Ruth Ware expands on the spooky setting of her title in her first mystery thriller – In a Dark, Dark Wood.  A glass house with no curtains or phone service; a group of six forced together for a “hen” party, the British term for bachelorette bash before the wedding; a Ouija board spelling out murderer, a gun over the mantle – mix these with a self-possessed bride and the groom’s ex girlfriend – and you get revenge, murder, suspicion, surprise.

The story flips back and forth from the main character, Nora, recovering in a hospital bed, with a police guard outside her door, and flashbacks to the “hen” party events leading up to her current distress.  Her amnesia adds to the dilemma, and keeps the reader wondering who is telling the truth.  Nora herself is not sure what she has done, and a secret from the past she holds with the bridegroom threatens her resolve.

Ware cleverly throws in plausible red herrings and scary scenarios to keep the pages turning quickly.  If you enjoyed The Girl on the Train and Before I Go to Sleep, add In a Dark, Dark Wood to the books that will keep you awake at night.

Related Reviews: