I've been a bit off my thriller game in 2024, only reading three in total since the year began. I chalk that up to being scared to read them in at night while I'm alone but I think this book by Kate Alice Marshall might've broken that curse.

None of the books in my personal library (digital or hardcopy) were calling my name so I decided to look on the Libby app and see what the Queens Public Library had available. "What Lies in the Woods" was a book I've seen around before and even had on my TBR so instead of buying it, I rented it from the library...and gobbled it up within days.

This is going in the Briana Thriller Hall of Fame next to Pretty Girls, Roanoke Girls and Behind Closed Doors. It was twisted, crazy and completely unexpected. It was eerie, disturbing, and quite sad, but my goodness was it thrilling. 

Publisher's Summary

Naomi Shaw used to believe in magic. Twenty-two years ago, she and her two best friends, Cassidy and Olivia, spent the summer roaming the woods, imagining a world of ceremony and wonder. They called it the Goddess Game. The summer ended suddenly when Naomi was attacked. Miraculously, she survived her seventeen stab wounds and lived to identify the man who had hurt her. The girls’ testimony put away a serial killer, wanted for murdering six women. They were heroes.

And they were liars.

For decades, the friends have kept a secret worth killing for. But now Olivia wants to tell, and Naomi sets out to find out what 
really happened in the woods—no matter how dangerous the truth turns out to be.

My Thoughts

As I said above, this is an insane book. It goes where you will never expect and just when you think everything is coming to an end, just when you think you know what's going to happen, something shifts and nothing is as it seems.

I've never read a Kate Alice Marshall book but wow, she is one hell of a writer. The scenes, the emotions, everything leaps off the page and you can truly visualize it in your mind. This felt almost like a screenplay instead of a novel because everything was so intense, you were on pins and needles waiting to see if Naomi was right...was the man she put away when she was 12 years old a killer? 

If you're a seasoned thriller reader, some of the book is predictable but that doesn't change my opinion of it in the slightest bit. It only added to the book, because I think Marshall made some twists easy to spot...others, not so much.

As I was reading, I kept thinking how unlucky Naomi seemed to be and towards the end, I was convinced that this girl just had really bad timing, but it also made me sad. She was flawed and understood her faults, but she tried to be better, tried to escape her past. She only wanted what was best for the people around her and so many failed her. It was heartbreaking, but that only made the ending even sweeter. 

What Lies in the Woods is probably a top five thriller for me because it was so well written, twisty, eerie, and utterly perfect.  If you're in search of a good thriller that will knock your socks off and make you scared to turn out the lights, I think it'll do just that.

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