Lo Blacklock is a travel writer who gets a chance to take a trip on the maiden voyage of a small luxurious cruise liner, the Aurora, in Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10. Lo is excited for the opportunity to advance at her magazine with this assignment although she is scarred by a recent burglary which has left her bruised both physically and emotionally. When Lo witnesses what appears to be a woman thrown overboard, she sounds the alarm only to be confronted by an insistence that none of the passengers or crew are unaccounted for.
The luxurious, opulent setting offers a stark contrast to the dark mood and events of The Woman in Cabin 10. The boat also provides a claustrophobic atmosphere as Lo fights to get to the bottom of the mystery and prove the existence of a girl no one but she recalls seeing. Ware does a masterful job of casting doubt on all the characters, turning them from allies to suspects and back again throughout the course of the book. The twists start early and keep coming in this book. You are never sure who to trust, especially Lo herself.
Ware creates an interesting protagonist in Lo Blacklock. One who is strong and determined even as she is consumed by self-doubt and fear. She is the most unreliable of narrators which keeps you guessing not only what has happened, but if it has happened. The boat is populated with well-drawn characters who run the gamut from helpful to skeptical to suspicious. The atmosphere is tense throughout and you are left waiting for another twist until the very last page.
As admirable a character as Lo is, she isn’t terribly likable. Her treatment of both her current boyfriend Jude as well as her ex, Ben, don’t really endear her to the reader, even if some of that is necessary to fostering her sense of isolation. That characterization and a pace that is somewhat slow for the first two-thirds of the book are drawbacks in an otherwise tense thriller.
The audio version of this book is narrated by Imogen Church who does a wonderful job with the narration. She slips in and out of a variety of English and Norwegian accents leaving no doubt as to which character is speaking at any time. She conveys the mood of the story through both pace and tone which complements and enhances the experience.
This is a great book for fans of atmospheric mysteries and unreliable narrators. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this audiobook.
Description: 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.