Book Review: In A Deep Dark Wood by Tina Pritchard
At the beginning of this story, retired social worker Fran witnesses a young man being brutally murdered while she is in the woods walking her dog.
… and that’s where the story lost me, because the killers knew she saw their faces and they had her captive. They were literally there committing a premeditated murder. Why on earth would they have let Fran, who could potentially identify them, get away when it would have been far safer and easier just to silence her permanently too? It made absolutely zero sense, and the entire story is predicated on it.
The genre here is somewhere between a cozy mystery, a psychological thriller, and women’s fiction; we get a lot of Fran’s introspection about her life and choices to date, along with her trying to be an amateur sleuth, but none of that really fits with the gritty brutality of the murder at the start, along with the underlying plot of London drug dealers attempting to take over a small regional territory and the associated violence with which they deal with their rivals.
I spent a lot of this book waiting for something to actually happen, as Fran spent her time walking her dog and worrying at things best left alone. It doesn’t seem to even occur to her that she should have been killed at the beginning, or that by doing exactly what she was told not to she is carelessly hurtling herself and her family into deep and dangerous waters.
There are repeated references to the death of a baby which was the catalyst for Fran to retire from social work - and to be honest, it came up so much I became convinced it was going to become a significant plot point, with a family member involved and looking for revenge. It was a total red herring, however, leaving me frustrated with how many pages had been spent on a piece of what was essentially Fran’s backstory.
I didn’t hate this, but I did find it frustrating and the logical inconsistency at the beginning meant I just couldn’t buy into the plot at all. I’ll give it three stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.