I’d had this book on my iPad to read for a long time before its publication date. I’d not heard of author Ruth Ware before, but many tell me they’ve read her previous book – In a Dark, Dark Wood – and enjoyed it a lot.
I liked The Woman in Cabin 10. It offered up a flawed lead character who may, or may not, be trustworthy as a narrator and a whodunnit of sorts.
The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware
Published by Harvill Secker
on June 30th 2016
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 1846558905, 9781846558900
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 Blackwood 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 her sleep problems might be driving her mad or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness...
Just days prior to going on the cruise Lo’s apartment is burglarised. She’s asleep at the time but hears the thief and gets up to investigate. She’s injured in the scuffle and still struggling with her confidence when she’s due to go on the press junket.
Lo’s a heavier-than-usual drinker and has moved on from the drinks-at-night, to the drinks-throughout-the-day to keep the shakes at bay. And though she knows she shouldn’t, she hits the booze hard on her first night aboard ship. So when she reports that someone’s gone overboard, her claims are essentially dismissed.
Of course her determined investigations make her suspicious of the small group onboard and eventually get her into trouble.
There are a few subplots and red herrings thrown into the mix by Ware. There are only 10 cabins on the luxury cruise ship so possible suspects are limited. But with everyone accounted for, readers are forced to wonder how reliable Lo really is.
For some reason this novel felt like it could have been written by Agatha Christie*. Perhaps it was the over-the-top luxury of the boat and the eclectic group of passengers: the owner and his wife, their friends, a photographer, a Bear Grylls type character, another journalist and Lo.
Interestingly the person who WAS to stay in number 10 was burgled and had his passport stolen just before the voyage… it seemed too coincidental, so I suspected Lo’s burglary was somehow related.
I don’t mind my characters flawed but have to admit I really didn’t identify as much as I would have liked with Lo. And as we didn’t really get to know any of the other characters, it fell a little short for me in that respect, as I really wasn’t that invested.
Ware jumps about in time a little and we’re privy to announcements and media reports of Lo’s disappearance while the plot is still unfolding. It’s a nice touch and adds to the suspense.
It is a little hard to solve this one – as readers don’t really have access to all of the detail – but Ware has thrown a few final twists in to keep us guessing.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware was published by Harvill Secker (Random House UK, Vintage Publishing) and is now available.
I received a copy of this book for review purposes.
* Of course, it was very reminiscent of Rear Window, so is probably Hitchcock-esque as well! 😉