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Reviews of What Lies in the Woods by Kate Marshall

What Lies in the Woods

A Novel

by Kate Alice Marshall

What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall X
What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2023, 336 pages

    Paperback:
    Jan 2024, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Book Summary

Kate Alice Marshall's What Lies in the Woods is a thrilling novel about friendship, secrets, betrayal, and lies - and having the courage to face the past.

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.

Introduction

There is a wilderness in little girls.

We could not contain it. It made magic of the rain and a temple of the forest. We raced down narrow trails, hair flying wind-wild behind us, and pretended that the slender spruce and hemlock were still the ancient woods that industry had chewed down to splinters. We made ourselves into warriors, into queens, into goddesses. Fern leaves and dandelions became poultices and potions, and we sang incantations to the trees. We gave ourselves new names: Artemis, Athena, Hecate. Conversations were in code, our letters filled with elaborate ciphers, and we taught ourselves the meanings of stones.

Beneath a canopy of moss-wreathed branches, we joined hands and pledged ourselves to one another forever—a kind of forever that burns only in the hearts of those young enough not to know better.

Forever ended with the summer. It ended with a scream and the shocking heat of blood, and two girls stumbling onto the road.

The way Leo Cortland told the ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!
  1. Naomi works as a wedding photographer, taking photos of joyful moments. Why do you think she chose this profession? Does she see these weddings as a kind of life she'll never attain, something she aspires to, or something else?
  2. Olivia decides that it is time to tell the truth about Persephone, now that keeping Stahl in prison is no longer a consideration. Do you think she planned to tell the truth about what happened to Naomi as well, as Cassidy feared, or would she have continued to keep that part a secret?
  3. A theme throughout the book is who owns the story of what happened that day, and who tells it. How have different people claimed the story, and with what goal? Does Naomi ever reclaim her story for herself?
  4. Naomi says of the summer...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Reading the novel feels a bit like riding a roller coaster: enjoying a slow build-up followed by a breakneck rush to the conclusion. The book eventually becomes absolutely unputdownable, as the revelations come fast and furious near the novel's conclusion. Truly engrossing mysteries are hard to find, and when I stumble across one, I treasure it. What Lies in the Woods is one of the most absorbing entries in the genre I've encountered...continued

Full Review (576 words)

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(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
Marshall explores the complicated dynamics of childhood friendships and the powerful effect that memory has in shaping narratives…In a novel filled with emotional depth and convincing red herrings, Marshall delivers a propulsive mystery about trust, secrets, and friendships.

Kirkus (starred review)
Shines an incisive light on the secrets of a small-town community...Great writing and boldly drawn characters bring a terrifying tale to all-too-vivid life.

Publishers Weekly
A powerful psychological thriller…This emotionally involving tale of friendship, betrayal, and redemption leaves an indelible impression.

Author Blurb Alice Feeney, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Darker
I loved everything about this beautifully written and impossible to put down book. I was hooked from the first clever and deliciously dark page and couldn't stop reading. Readers will love What Lies in the Woods, an exciting new voice in the genre.

Author Blurb Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of The House Across the Lake
Utterly riveting. What Lies in the Woods is a stunner—dark, unflinching, and as twisty and sharp as a tangle of thorns.

Reader Reviews

Laura

Basic thriller, no twist
Good at making the reader curious of the crime but not a twist or thriving ending. Had potential. Seemed hurried at the end. Expected more.

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Beyond the Book

A Crowd-Sourced Tool for Solving Crime

In Kate Alice Marshall's murder mystery What Lies in the Woods, characters use a resource called the DoeNetwork to identify a corpse.

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), a database funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, about 600,000 people go missing in the United States each year. Most are found quickly, alive and well, but "tens of thousands remain missing for more than one year." It's also estimated that 4,400 unidentified bodies are found annually, with about a quarter of those remaining unknown after a year. As of 2022, more than 13,000 unidentified body cases remain open in the United States.

DoeNetwork Logo The DoeNetwork is one of several resources people can use to help identify ...

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Read-Alikes

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