Cover Image: What Lies in the Woods

What Lies in the Woods

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Member Reviews

Thank you Kate Alice Marshall, MacMillan Audio, and NetGalley for an ARC.
What Lies in the Woods was a good, slow-burning thriller called. 
There are enough people making bad decisions that it was simple to have several suspects, which caused me to make a lot of incorrect assumptions.
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What lies in the woods is my second book from Kate Alice Marshall, and it did not disappoint. She is incredible at writing unsettling ambiance. This was a time of bonding for three friends, Naomi, Cassidy, and Olvia couldn't be more different. Bonding over time, they create a magical game called the goddess game. 

While deep, deep in the woods, the three friends' lives will change forever. Naomi is viciously attacked but is able to survive and identify her attacker. The individual is a notorious serial killer and now is behind bars. Twenty-two years later, there are secrets some people would kill to tell. This story felt like being in a dream. It had such a unique writing style, and it definitely kept you guessing from beginning to end.
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I am not a fan of slow burns, but the story in this one kept me so intrigued that I wasn’t even bothered. It was very atmospheric and the storytelling so detailed that I could really picture everything that was happening. 

Naomi was the perfect flawed narrator. After the serial killer she and her two friends put in jail dies, she goes back to her hometown to figure out what really happened the day she was attacked. I loved how the story unfolded, with all the secrets that a small town can hold are revealed. There are quite a few twists that surprised me, especially the conclusion. I never would have predicted it and that’s what I loved most about this book. There is also a part that resembles a true crime case and you can definitely tell that’s where the author got her inspiration. 

If you like books with serial killers, toxic friendships, and small towns with secrets, this one is for you.
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Naomi would like to forget what happened in the woods 22 years ago. Despite her misgivings, Naomi reluctantly makes a trip to the small logging town where she grew up at the request of her best friend, Liv. Liv's proposal to Cass and Naomi forces them all to face the complications of the past in ways they never imagined.  

This book had me turning the pages, staying up late, and sneaking in a chapter every chance I got until the very end. I kept thinking I had things all figured out but had to keep revising my theories as new information continually turned up. My hunch was correct on one plot element, but the major revelations were still quite shocking for me. This was a complex, dark, and gripping read with a cast of untrustworthy characters.

Beware! If you start this one, you won't be fully focused on anything else until you're finished! It's the perfect read for a rainy weekend on the couch with a beverage and a cozy blanket.
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If you've read my KAM reviews before, you know I'm a Stan. This book 100% did NOT let me down! The mystery of what happened to the girls all those years ago and how everything unfolded was so good! There was a constant feeling of being so close to the answers and yet every time you thought you know what was happening, you were wrong. 

I did guess one of the major plot points but it was mostly because I was thinking how great of a plot twist it would be if it happened, not really because it was heavy handed. And it WAS a great plot twist. They all were. SO MANY. 

Our main character Naomi is the girl who was murdered in the forest - almost. I didn't expect the story to be from her POV honestly. Typically when you have these kinds of books with multiple survivors, you don't get the viewpoint of the one who was hurt the most, but it really worked here. Getting Naomi's viewpoint of everything that happened when they were kids and everything they'd been through since then was just an emotional rollercoaster that I loved every minute of. 

Liv and Cass were so well done as well. The way we learn about "that summer" and the things they remembered. It was all so well done. Marshall was built for thrillers, there's no other way around it. While her mid-grade and YA spooky books are near perfection, I was happy to see that she could put a book together without any sort of fantastical element and it could be just as good. 

If you like dark twisty tales of the secrets a small town is willing to hide, this is definitely the book for you!
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Featuring ~ single 1st person POV, childhood trauma, secrets, suicide references

Secrets run deep with childhood friends Naomi, Cassidy and Olivia and they're still haunted 22 years later.
There were some nice twists I didn't see coming ~ whoop whoop! This was a solid suspenseful thriller with a shocking conclusion and this author is on my radar now. From what I gather this is her debut in adult fiction as she normally writes YA, so job well done.

BTW ~ I liked that Naomi never wanted to cover up her facial scars.

I was fortunate enough to receive a kindle copy and the audiobook to review. Either way was great.
Narrated by Karissa Vacker for 11 hours 16 minutes and 40 seconds, easy to follow at 2-2.5x. She's a well seasoned narrator and did a fantastic job.
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I tend to steer clear of most thrillers these days because they are the same, tired white cishet formula that I'm no longer interested in. These reservations were set aside when I saw that Kate Alice Marshall was releasing her adult debut because I absolutely love her YA books, and y'all, this book was an absolute treat!

Our MC Naomi is truly a bisexual disaster. She uses sex and messy relationships to bury the horrific childhood trauma that she has experienced. Naomi always had Cassidy and Olivia because they were the best friends that were also there on that horrific night. But these three also have another secret, which Olivia decides that it’s finally time to reveal after more than 20 years.

First off, if you can do the audiobook, do it because Karissa Vacker is incredible!

If y’all are looking for an entertaining thriller that will keep you guessing til the very end then this is it. This book is messy, unpredictable, and one heck of a roller coaster. Be aware that this book is not light nor fluffy. There’s mental health struggles, struggles with sexuality, as well as some murders that will keep you guessing.

I can’t recommend this one enough, and I can’t wait for Marshall’s next book!
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4.25 stars

Wow, what an enjoyable thriller. It was very twisty and held my interest throughout. The plot was well thought out, if not a bit unbelievable. I thought the MC was interesting and I found her behavior understandable considering the circumstances. The writing was also solid. Overall, I really enjoyed this one!
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A disturbing, twisty read. While one of the twists is easy to predict, the others I did not see coming. Well written and suspenseful with characters that are not easy to like. I’ll be looking for more from Ms. Marshall. 

**Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. **
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Something wicked this way comes. Living a fantasy—demons and dragons; a prince who rushes in to save the day. Make-believe is a little too real. These are the words that live inside the heart and soul of three eleven-year-old girls. They called it the Goddess Game, Naomi, Cass, and Liv. Can you imagine playing out in the woods where your imagination can soar and while playing one of the most heinous crimes takes place and forever changes the lives of those three young girls one summer day? When the Goddess Game was over, Naomi came out of those woods, barely, with her life. Someone had viciously attacked her, leaving her face riddled with scars that she would carry for the rest of her life.

Cass and Liv had to become Naomi’s memories for that day. When she came to in the hospital, she didn’t recall anything much other than the pain of the knife searing through her face and body. Naomi depended on her best friends to fill in the gaps that were extremely blurry in her mind’s eye. Cass, Liv, and Naomi advised their hometown that a serial killer was Naomi’s attacker, Alan Stahl. They saw him viciously attack Naomi that awful summer day. Stahl was accused of the crime and sent away to prison, where he lived the rest of his days until his final breath.

The three best friends decided to meet up to celebrate, of sorts, Stahl’s death. The nightmare he imposed upon these friends’ lives were finally over—or was it? Naomi goes home to visit her father, a man she hadn’t seen in quite some time. Her personal mail had been collected there and he gladly gave to its rightful owner. Naomi begins thumbing through the junk mail until she comes across a letter that was handwritten personally to her. She opens it and finds that someone knows what really happened all those years ago in the woods. Someone knows that the man she and her friends accused of attacking her, was all a lie. But how could anyone besides the three of them know this? And that, readers, is where this story takes you down a path of lies and twists and turns.

What an incredible story. I couldn’t get enough of these characters’ lives. It’s a story you will want to invest your time in. My one issue with this story was the length of it. I’m not a fan of overkill or long stories that clearly could have ended many chapters ago—unfortunately, this story was one of those, but again, I loved it, but wished it weren’t so long.
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Thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When Naomi was eleven years old she was stabbed seventeen times by a serial killer. Her two best friends, Cass and Liv, were both with her and swore that they saw the man who did it. He was sent to prison.

Now, over 20 years later, Naomi is back in her hometown. The man she and her friends sent to prison has died and the friends meet up.

Soon after their meeting, Liv is found dead. Supposedly by suicide, but was it murder? Why? What exactly happened in the woods all those years ago?

This was my first book by this author and I really enjoyed it. It was dark and twisty and I was hooked from the beginning. Naomi doesn’t have her life all together and doesn’t hide her physical scars from that night to anyone. There weren’t too many slow points in this book (for me. I’ve read other reviews who have felt the opposite.) I guessed s couple of things that happened or were revealed, but not the final ending. I will definitely read more from this author.
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Naomi Shaw was viciously attacked with a knife as a little girl in the woods she loved to play in with her friends. Now in her 30s, she receives a call that the serial killer convicted of attacking her is dead. The call forces her to reconnect with her two best childhood friends, Liv and Cass, who witnessed her attack those many years ago and vowed to always be there for each other afterwards. Once together in their hometown again, doubts and secrets begin to bubble to the surface and Naomi can’t ignore them anymore. She is placed in the very dangerous position of getting to the bottom of what truly happened back then, why, and along the journey, realizes multiple people have been lying to her for many years. Not everything is what it seems. To get to the truth, some sacrifices must be made. 

Okay so this review took me a little bit of time to think about and write, even though I read this book earlier this month.

My thoughts were difficult to formulate because I really wanted to love this book. I heard fantastic things about it prior to beginning and even had ordered my BOTM version prior to starting the uncorrected proof. It was fine, but it just fell flat for me in some ways and felt like it dragged. There was also a lot of typos (which I am sure were likely fixed prior to publication).

It was long. Or at least it *felt* incredibly long, this I believe is due to 1) the way the “chapters” were divided and 2) the super slow burn nature of the book with a quick ending that left me wanting more closure. 

Goodreads says the book is 336 pages, but with uncorrected proofs on kindle it’s almost impossible to know how long a book is. The uncorrected proof didn’t have any kind of real chapter division either and the segments or I guess, unofficial chapters, were very long. Not sure if this was an uncorrected proof feature or if the final was meant by the author to be that way — I will have to check against my BOTM copy. 

This is definitely a very slow burn — the story was very detailed and had in depth character development and backstory necessary to color the current events. I definitely got more than I needed to understand the plot. It took a very long time to get to the suspenseful climax of the story and by then, I was super invested in the story and the characters. The plot twist was clever and I didn’t expect it coming, but the climax just came and went so fast and then the story was over. After how invested I was for what felt like such a long book, it just felt like not enough. I guess this is one of those books where you need to enjoy the journey and not the destination?

This is the second book I’ve read very recently where the plot involves a true crime podcaster that isn’t who they say they are and they offer help to the MC with an ulterior motive. It seems to be a popular, modern addition to thrillers lately.

That all being said, I still enjoyed most aspects of the book enough. I would read Kate’s work again for sure. She certainly has the creativity and writing talent to blossom into one of the thriller greats. I just want some more THRILL, girl! And shorter chapters please… lol.

I rated this 3.5 out of 4 stars, rounded up to 4 here and Goodreads due to the half.

Thank you to NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Kate for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review!
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First of all, I want to thank you for allowing me to read this book! It took awhile for me to start this book, just due to the holidays and daily life. Once I was able to start it, I had a hard time putting it down. Horror is one of my new favorite genres and this book just goes to show how much I love it. The plot kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting for more.
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Y’all I loved this one! This book captured the nostalgia of being a kid playing in the woods, while also having the elements that I love in a thriller! It has a serial killer, small town secrets, an unreliable narrator, short chapters, and shocking twists. I had this one as an ARC, but made it my @bookofthemonth pick too! I recommend checking this psychological thriller out.

Thank you @flatiron_books and @netgalley for allowing me to read this book ahead of publication in exchange for my honest review.
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People, hear me.  I did NOT see the end of What Lies in the Woods coming.  You must read this book if you love a great plot and an unpredictable twist!
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I absolutely loved this book! From the very beginning it's clear that there is more to the story than anyone is letting on. With everyone hiding something the twists and turns just keep coming and the ending will leave you shocked! A rivoting page turner I couldn't put down!
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What Lies in the Woods is a slow paced thriller full of secrets and memories from a childhood trauma that the main characters suffered. It gave me major slender man, or Mister Tender’s Girls, vibes at the beginning. The writing is well crafted, the characters interesting, but I just wish the pacing had been a tad quicker. Overall a solid story and I enjoyed it!
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My thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for providing me with a digital copy for review. 

This was such a twisty, compelling thriller! It hooked me right from the start and did not let up until the very end. Some of the twists I guessed, but others I did not see coming! Despite her flaws, I really liked our main character Naomi. She was attacked at age eleven, having been stabbed seventeen times. All that trauma weighed heavily on her and as a result she grew up with some self destructive behaviors. When the man accused and convicted of the attack dies in prison, Naomi and her friends reunite in their hometown, but of course old secrets rise to the surface, as well as the possibility that there is more to the story of what happened all those years ago. 

I would highly recommend this to mystery lovers. It was not perfect, and as I said before, I did guess some of it. But it was still quite enjoyable and a wonderful addition to the mystery/thriller genre.
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If I had to compare this story to another one, it was very reminiscent of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. This story follows a woman who, through a series of circumstances, ends up back in her hometown where horrific events unfolded when she was a child. I really loved how the story unfolded and I was engrossed while reading the entire time.
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Naomi, Cass, and Liv were best friends, and spent the summer they were 11 in the woods, playing the Goddess Game.  Naomi was attacked, and almost died, but the three girls were able to identify her attacker, and the testimony put him in jail.  Twenty years later, he dies, and everything Naomi thought she knew is called into question.  

I enjoy Kate Alice Marshall's writing, and was thrilled to receive an ARC of What Lies in the Woods.  Well written, nicely paced, and emotional punches that didn't stop coming.  Each time I thought I had an idea of where the story was headed, it surprised me.  

Thank you Netgalley and Flatiron Books!
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