By: Ruth Ware
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: 7/19/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
From New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful and haunting novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.
In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, 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…
With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.
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A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Cover Love!
Ruth Ware returns following (2015) In a Dark, Dark Wood with THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10, an atmospheric haunting suspenseful tale of murder mystery. A woman at sea, who fears for her life-on a boutique cruise liner, The Aurora.
Lo Blacklock, age thirty-two, a British journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has received a week trip assignment, on a new luxury cruise ship called Aurora. She is stepping in for her pregnant boss and delighted for the opportunity. Not only mixing a little business with pleasure, a perk for Velocity, the magazine, she writes for.
There will only be ten luxuriously appointed cabins with a maximum of twenty passengers at any one time. In addition, a handpicked staff from the world’s top hotels and restaurants.
Prior to the trip, there is a break-in at her London flat which makes her anxious, and she is totally wired and unable to sleep. She had to get herself together before the trip. This would be a chance to show off her journalism skills. She could get the Velocity’s name out there. She is a feature writer, and hoping to cover her boss’s maternity leave while she is off. This was a test, of sorts.
Lord Bullmer, the owner of the Aurora Borealis was a high flier from what she gathered. With his advertising budget, it could keep Velocity afloat for months, not to mention all the well-known names in travel and photography who would be invited, along the maiden voyage and whose bylines on their cover would be smashing.
The interior of the Aurora was elaborate. Even though small, it had enough bling for a vessel ten times the size. From eye-watering Swarovski chandeliers, to the wealthy guests. Plush accommodations, suites, lounge, library, dining, veranda, sundeck and public areas. She is in cabin #9, the Linnaeus Suite. With suites named after Scandinavian writers. From the dinner parties to the staff, elegant and highly impressive!
No cell phone bars, as the coast of England disappeared from view, the only noise was the crashing of waves. Of course, Judah is texting worried about her. She was in the picturesque North Sea and starting her voyage. Lo was trying to figure out how many months she would have to work in order to pay for a week on the Aurora as a passenger, when she hears something.
Anxious from the earlier episode before leaving for her trip, her heart quickens. Her bathroom door swings open and she could feel the walls closing in on her. Blackness swallowing her. She forces herself not to panic, it had to maid coming in to turn the bed down or something else. A panic attack.
There is also plenty of food and lots of booze flowing. She had a habit of drinking too much wine and champagne, mixed with the sea, giving her a queasy feeling.
An ex-boyfriend, Ben (from years ago-another journalist) is on board which complicates matters. Surely she is safe, she is in the middle of the ocean. Then she hears a splash. A body hitting the water.
Now she is really panicked. She sees a smear that looks like blood. She is in danger. She calls the cabin stewardess. She told her she thought someone threw a body overboard—knowing it sounded absolutely crazy. Someone had been inside her room. When she goes to show the security guard, there is nothing. What happened to the murderer?
There was a girl. She talked to her earlier, and borrowed her mascara. A girl in cabin 10, and now she is missing. They say the cabin is empty. The cabin next to hers. However, the staff says it always has been empty. There was no guest in that cabin, ever?
All the passengers remain accounted for on the manifest. Is she crazy or paranoid? What is going on? She knows the girl was at dinner. She said she was in her late twenties, white, English, long dark hair, slim, pretty. Lots of makeup and eye makeup and wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt. No one believes her. Staff?
She was furious. A woman’s body could be floating down into the black darkness of the North Sea never to be found. There was a murderer on the boat, and no one knows but her. They will be after her next, since she was a witness.
How easy it would be for someone to just walk up behind her and give her a push. They were in the middle of international waters. No schedule; a helpless passenger with someone else at the wheel.
No one believes her. Either the girl is dead or she is going mad?
Maybe they did not want the publicity of an unexplained death to sink their whole enterprise. But she knows she heard something. Now she is thinking private DNA testing. No stupid network connection. This was not good for her career. Then the tube of mascara was missing. Her only missing link.
Furthermore, she is unaware, Judah is worried about her and reports her missing.
What she has seen does not warrant a murder investigation, they say. They must be covering for someone. Now she is losing it! She refuses to believe she is nuts. Someone took her mascara. Who would want to pay tens of thousands of dollars (pounds) for a luxury trip on a boat where a girl died.
She goes to the spa for a massage to try and relax. Next written across the steamy mirror in letters, “Stop Digging!”
Lo decided when they reached Trondheim, no matter what she was going to get herself off the boat and head straight to the nearest police station. No “do not disturb”sign would keep her safe in her room. If she could only make it one more day.
Did she see the girl? Was she alive? The rising fear. A trap. This is no relaxing adventure even with the upscale amenities. She is determined to solve the mystery, or die trying.
Clever and taut, sprinkled with witty social media, from whodunit web forums, discussion groups for armchair detectives; Ware, keeps you in suspense, dark and gripping--with a feeling of being trapped at sea with chilling twisty turns, while glued to the pages with spine-tingling psychological drama. More of a mystery, psychological suspense; than hard core dark crime thriller.
Let’s just say, I am a sucker for adventure; whether trains, planes or boats. There is always mystery, intrigue and a lack of control, as a passenger.
Definitely worth the voyage. I enjoyed THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 more so than the previous book. Atmospheric, clever, twisty, and engaging!
July Top Reads
“A classic "paranoid woman" story with a modern twist in this tense, claustrophobic mystery...The cast of characters, their conversations, and the luxurious but confining setting all echo classic Agatha Christie; in fact, the structure of the mystery itself is an old one: a woman insists murder has occurred,everyone else says she's crazy. But Lo is no wallflower; she is a strong and determined modern heroine who refuses to doubt the evidence of her own instincts.” (Kirkus Reviews)
About the Author
Ruth Ware grew up in Lewes, in Sussex. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London.
She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.
The Woman in Cabin is her second novel, coming July US, June UK.
Her hen night was very tasteful and nobody got murdered. Read More