by Ruth Ware
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
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.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware is a suspenseful murder-mystery thriller that takes place on the high sea. Fans of Agatha Christie will appreciate this well executed thriller. Fast paced with twists, turns and danger on the high seas I could not set this down.
Come aboard the Aurora for its maiden voyage as we travel the North Sea. Every cabin is plush and offers a spectacular veranda. You are among a select group of guests. Some are prospective investors in this venture and others are from the media in hopes they will write about their experience.
Enter our unreliable narrator Lo Blacklock. She is a journalist with a travel magazine, who lucked out on this dream trip and hopes it launches her career. Lo is a bit of a mess when we meet her. A few days before the voyage she awakens to find a man burglarizing her loft. The whole event has left her sleep deprived. To make matters worse she has a bit of a spat with her boyfriend and is not clear if it is over or not. She appears to have a bit of a drinking problem and doesn’t exude a lot of confidence.
Lo arrives on board frazzled but determined to have a good time and schmooze with the other guests. After a night of drinking she awakens to a noise in the next cabin and witnesses a woman being thrown overboard. Frightened and sleep-deprived Lo’s nightmare escalates when the head of security assure her all passengers are accounted and suggests she is overwrought. Lo begins to invest on her own and the game is afoot.
The Woman in Cabin 10 was highly addictive with a writing style that allows the reader to slip into the story, I devoured this almost in a single sitting. Ware did an excellent job of slowly building the suspense, offering up twists and turns. The ship’s Wi-Fi is down leaving Lo completely cut off from the outside world. When she confides in someone, she soon discovers a lie and now they are a possible suspect. When tangible evidence conveniently disappears, Lo begins to think she is losing her mind.
The mystery was well crafted as Ware kept me guessing until almost the end. The ship setting amplified the suspense offering both a closed room murder vibe and thrilling danger. From the subtle twists to the climactic heart-pounding ending and reveal, The Woman in Cabin 10 was one heck of a ride.
Excerpt of the Woman in Cabin 10
Only her long black hair remained, floating through the water like fronds of dark seaweed, tangling in shells and fishing nets, washing up on the shore in hanks like frayed rope, where it lay, limp, the roar of the crashing waves against the shingle filling my ears.
I woke, heavy with dread, and it took me a while to remember where I was, and still longer to realise that the roar in my ears was not part of the dream, but real.
The room was dark, with the same damp mist I’d felt in my dream, and as I pulled myself to sitting I felt a cool breeze on my cheek. It sounded like the noise was coming from the bathroom.
I got out of bed, shivering slightly. The door was shut, but as I walked across to it, I could hear the roar building, the pitch of my heart rising alongside. Taking my courage in both hands, I flung open the door – and a wave of hot steam rushed out and hit me in the face. Somehow – impossibly – the shower was on.
Inside, I groped my way through the dense steam to the shower stall and grappled with the controls, getting half drenched in the process, holding my hand over my face to shield myself from the near-scalding water .
At last, the shower trickled and gurgled to a halt, leaving me panting, my dripping hair plastered to my face, and I felt for the light, which would activate the extractor fan and clear some of the steam.
I hit the switch, light flooding the bathroom – and that’s when I saw it.
Written across the steamy mirror, in letters maybe six inches high, were the words STOP DIGGING