Title: The Woman in Cabin 10
Author: Ruth Ware
Published: August 29 2016
Publisher: Random House
Genres: Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Rating: 4 stars
This was meant to be the perfect trip. The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.
A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse.
Except things don’t go as planned.
Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.
Exhausted and emotional, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a mistake – either that, or she is now trapped on a boat with a murderer…
There is nothing better than settling down to a claustrophobic, Agatha Christie style mystery. The Woman is Cabin 10 is Ruth Ware, author of In a Dark, Dark Wood’s second novel. For the record, I thoroughly enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10 and I believe this book is a fine follow up to Ware’s thrilling debut novel.
The action begins early in The Woman in Cabin 10. Travel journalist Laura Blacklock is subjected to a terrifying home burglary in the opening pages of this book. Left shaken, Laura still decides to embark on a work related trip that could define her career, she is to be passenger on the maiden voyage of a new luxury liner. Sore, broken and lacking sleep, Laura sets off of her journey on the seas. On the first night, on a combination of too much drink and lack of sleep, Laura thinks she witnesses a female passenger from the room next door fall overboard. When Laura reports the matter, it is dismissed by all those involved. Laura is accused by the ship’s staff of making it up and that she is deluded, blaming excessive alcohol and a lack of sleep. As a journalist, Laura’s natural instinct to investigate a story takes over and things become dangerous. The suspects also mount up as Laura investigates further.
I have read a couple of thrillers in the past that have been set on cruise ships but I have to say this one is the best of the bunch. I loved the setting, although suffocating, eerie at times and most definitely claustrophobic, these factors only added to the tension of the book. It is hard to not feel anxious and a strong sense of paranoia while reading The Woman in Cabin 10, as the tone evoked by this novel clearly spells out fear.
Aside from the setting, the narrative is very compulsive, willing you to read just one more page or chapter. With the action and events kicking off early in the novel by a home robbery, it becomes abundantly clear to the reader that The Woman in Cabin 10 is not going to be a smooth ride. It is impossible not to get drawn into central protagonist Laura’s mind. I found Laura to be a fantastic lead character and I even felt her confusion rubbing off onto me at many points while I read this novel. Although I liked Laura as a main character, I was also able to cast a critical eye on her actions and behaviour during the progression of the novel. I began to wonder if Laura could be trusted and if I needed to shelve her into the category of an unreliable narrator. Either way, Ware keeps the reader on their toes for the entire novel, delivering a snappy thriller, leaving room for plenty of guessing and second guessing to occur. Pairing this with a number of questionable suspects and adding in some great plot twists also added to my enjoyment of the novel. The final moments of the book are crafted well and had me biting my nails in pure dread, as I concerned myself with Laura, as well as the overboard passenger’s final fate.
The secrets hidden aboard a boutique cruise liner on its first voyage and an untrustworthy narrator with a killer journalistic instinct, are the focus of Ruth Ware’s second novel. I really enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10, slightly more than its predecessor and I rate this atmospheric thriller highly.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware was published in August 2016 by Random House, details on how to purchase the book can be found here.