The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 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, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.
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, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness...
Laura [Lo] Blacklock a travel journalist is chosen by her magazine to cover the maiden voyage of a very exclusive cruise liner bound for the Norwegian Fjords and the Northern Lights. Having been the victim of a burglary some nights before she leaves she has spent some sleepless nights in her flat leading up to the trip and is suffering from sleep deprivation by the time she boards the cruise liner. The first night aboard she is woken in the early hours of the morning by a scream and a splash which appears to have come from the cabin next to hers. When she goes onto the verandah she sees blood on the partition between the cabins. Convinced something has happened to the girl in the next cabin she calls for security who inform her there is no one in that cabin. The guest booked had cancelled at the last minute. Lo knows there was a woman in the cabin as she met her the evening before when she knocked and asked to borrow some mascara. Something is very wrong and she makes up her mind to find out what is going on.
I didn't think that Lo came across as particularly brave in many instances I thought she was quite a weak character. For me it was a shame that Ruth Ware didn't make her into a stronger person until almost the end of the novel but with her long history of taking medication for extreme anxiety and how easy it was for others to make her doubt herself perhaps the pitch was right but nevertheless it was at times frustrating and I wanted to shake her and give her a good talking to.
I liked the fact that the novel was set on a cruise liner in the middle of the ocean, it felt really very Agatha Christie and the slow incremental tension building added to the suspense. I did think in parts it could have moved a little quicker as pages were devoted to interviewing staff on board which the reader knows won't throw any light on the woman in cabin 10. The atmosphere was created very well conveying the claustrophobic feeling and size of the cruiser and the isolation of being cut off from the outside world with no internet or phone signals; it also had a creepy feeling about it with all the staff being so robotic and smiley all the time. Not being able to completely trust anyone was also conveyed well and of course Lo eventually doubting her own sanity.
I didn't really buy the end of Richard Bullmer (I won't go into it as don't want to show a spoiler) but after all that had happened and all his power and connections I couldn't believe it would have ended this way for him. But of course should Ruth Ware want to write a sequel then it might be that the body wasn't him at all - an interesting twist.
It was well written and an enjoyable read - perhaps one to take on holiday but maybe not on a cruise! A worthy 4 stars from me.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.