Nicely suspenseful and well-written, Ruth Ware has apparently done it again, although I didn’t read The Dark Dark Woods, Ware’s debut novel, it got rave reviews and is now on my wish list. I love finding a new author.
Laura (Lo) Blacklock, a journalist with a travel magazine and our 1st person narrator, has been given a complimentary cruise on a new luxury ship in exchange for a review. It was a gift from her boss, Rowen, who is unable to go. A few days before the trip Laura’s flat is burgled by a completely masked man while she was there. After that she can’t sleep at home, but when she tries her boyfriend’s flat he appears and she attacks him. They almost break up and she continues on to her cruise in a state of sleep-deprived high anxiety.
The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware
2016/ 352 pages
read by Imogene Church – 11h 8m
rating: C / Crime
Even on the ship she continues to be extremely nervous and drinks too much (like The Girl on the Train? No.) Not only is Laura a heavy drinker, she’s emotionally unstrung by the burglary, by lack of sleep and from the fight with her boyfriend, Judah. We definitely have an unreliable narrator here. Wade has gone to lengths to establish that. Quite simply, we can’t rely on her thoughts and statements, but then, neither can she and she almost knows it. Quite well done.
There is free booze in her cabin and this might be a problem. She and Judah who is also traveling on business, don’t seem to be able to communicate at all now. There’s something wrong with Laura’s phone connection and the ship’s wifi.
Lo meets a lot of journalism buddies on the ship and tries to get into the groove of things. There are way too many characters here. I love books about crimes in limited spaces – a mountain lodge in a snowstorm, a cruise ship, an island, but there is a limit to how many characters I can wrap my head around. This straightens itself out.
There are lots of ways to die on a cruise ship, but obviously the most likely murder scenario is that someone falls overboard whether by suicide, accident or being pushed. Of course, that may simply be the best way to get rid of a body, too. On the first night out Lo sees blood on the neighbor’s veranda railing and is sure she sees a body in the sea. Laura is determined to find out what it was she saw, but no one on board is missing and her questions seem to be aggravating someone – she gets notes.
The book starts out with a very high level of suspense what with the burglary and all, but that settles down a bit. The dialogue is excellent – very natural. The character development is really quite good – the narrator is not only unreliable, she’s compromised and in serious danger – especially considering the hidden doors and stairways. The structure is excellent – switching back and forth from Laura on the ship to Judah and others who can’t get ahold of her, there’s even an excellent use of alternative styling in the online message board.
Oh I did so enjoy this book – it’s not without some flaws probably but it was great fun.