Saturday, December 24, 2022

What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall


WHAT LIES IN THE WOODS has so many of my favorite tropes in it that it felt like this author had written this book with me in mind: Naomi was the survivor of a serial killer's attack, but it left her with facial scars. Now she's a wedding photographer living with a dude who doesn't really appreciate her beyond the value of her story. When she finds out that the serial killer died in prison and her two friends are struggling with a secret that they hid as children, she shoots back home to confront her friends, Cass and Liv, about the past and why it should stay hidden.

Childhood games-turned-dangerous, toxic romance, suspicious and potentially dangerous hot guys, small town dynamics, and big secrets-- these are just some of the tropes in this book. It started out great but then the pacing started to feel a little uneven. There were too many "gotcha" twists at the end, which kind of made the book feel like a really bumpy rollercoaster that didn't have any dramatic or shocking falls. I thought this might have been a debut but I checked the author's backlist and it is not, although it does seem like it might be her debut for adult readers (she's a YA/MG author), which would explain the fade-to-black sex scenes (booo) and the really naive/youthful voice of the narrator.

I liked this book and would read more from this author, but it doesn't have anything that really makes it stand out from other books in the genre. The ending was also more bittersweet than I would have liked. I wanted Naomi to have a kick-ass and smutty happily-ever-after. But maybe that's just the romance reader in me. Anyway, if you like sad girl mystery thrillers a la Gillian Flynn, you'll love this.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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