Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…
The Woman in Cabin 10 is my first book by Ruth Ware. Though I was tempted to read her first book, the cover and summary of this novel caught my attention as a thrilling summer read aboard a luxury cruise in the North Sea.
Told in the FIRST PERSON POV, The Woman In Cabin 10 is a PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER/MURDER MYSTERY reminiscent of an Agatha Christie’s whodunit novel, but without the shrewd sleuth. Lo (Laurie) Blacklock, a claustrophobic, paranoid, insomniac journalist, who uses alcohol to self-medicate is the main character. As a journalist for Velocity, a travel magazine, she’s just received a big break she’d been looking for―an assignment aboard the Aurora, a boutique luxury cruise linear traveling around the NORWEGIAN FJORDS.
Just days before Lo embarks on her assignment, she’s burglarized, rapidly sending her into INSOMNIA and PARANOIA which dictates the rest of the story. And adding to her anxiety, she discovers her commitment-ready boyfriend, Judah, turned down an important job in New York City to be with her in London. But Lo doesn’t know what she wants, not just yet. Sleep-deprived, exhausted, and mentally unprepared to take on this assignment, Lo forges ahead determined to achieve recognition.
She embarks the Aurora, and a few hours later, tries to muster enough energy to dine with the ship’s illustrious guest. She dresses in a rental dress, makes up her face, and
discovers her mascara is missing. Lo wanders to the next cabin, hoping someone has the desired eye makeup. Hmm… who borrows mascara from strangers? KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK. Lo wields a firmer knock and a young woman, seemingly agitated, opens the door. She finds a cheap mascara and tells Lo to keep it. Swiftly, she closes the door in Lo’s face. Hmmm…
Hours later, after meeting wealthy and renowned guest, Lo stumbles back to her cabin in a drunken state, hoping the alcohol puts her to sleep. At three in the morning, she’s awakened by a noise and what she thought was a scream in the next cabin.
After questioning security, staff, and passengers, she’s met by skeptics. No one’s seen the woman in cabin 10, but Lo has proof the woman exists―the mascara. Mysteriously the mascara disappears, and Lo becomes more determined to figure out who’s trying to conceal the woman’s existence and why? She’s considered every possible person aboard, eliminating the most unlikely to commit murder. Even the frightful message she received on a foggy bathroom mirror―STOP SEARCHING! doesn’t thwart her probing. BREATHE IN . . . ONE, TWO, THREE. BREATHE OUT . . . ONE, TWO, THREE.
Who is the mystery woman in cabin 10? Who is the killer? Will Lo escape the ship alive? The Woman in Cabin 10 is WELL-PLOTTED, SUSPENSEFUL, with TWIST AND TURNS and enough DIZZYING ACTION from the ship’s veranda to the depths of cold water below, to a frightful escape at night with a view of the Aurora Borealis.
I did have a few issues with the storyline. The main character was a tad too gullible, stepping into the fray unthinking and unprotected. There were a few holes toward the end the author could have further elucidated. But otherwise, The Woman in Cabin 10 was a thrilling and enjoyable read.
Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game and The Death of Mrs. Westaway have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times, and she is published in more than 40 languages. She lives on the south coast of England, with her family.
Author’s Website: www.ruthware.com