I was very excited when Gallery/Scott Press sent me an email with a link to this book on NetGalley. I loved Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood and I am looking forward to re-reading it. When I got the link and early access to The Woman in Cabin 10, I was jumping up and down.
The book is about a woman named Lo Blacklock who is a magazine reporter. After being robbed in her home which makes her feel jumpy, she receives an exclusive invitation to board a new Norwegian luxury cruise line.
On the first night, before dinner, she knocks on the door of the cabin next to her (Cabin 10). She sees a woman and asks to borrow some mascara. That evening after drinking a lot and still shaken after the break-in, she awakens to a noise outside of her cabin room. When she walks outside onto the veranda, she hears the sound of a body dropping into the water and sees blood on the side of the ship. When she calls security, the cabin is bare and there are no bloody streaks. Was it just a drunken dream? Was it something else? All she has is the mascara to prove it wasnt a dream. It is now up to Lo to investigate what happened to the woman in cabin 10.
The fun part about this book is that the entire book takes place on an enclosed ship. No one is getting on or off and there is a time limit to the investigation. It is like one of the old Thin Man or Agatha Christie novels. The ship has all sorts of twists and turns, one way doors, and there are only a handful of people to keep track of. The ship will also get smaller the more Lo gets deeper into the mystery.
The other fun part is we have an unreliable narrator. Lo is a pretty heavy drinker, she is paranoid from the break in, she has a history of panic attacks (it seems to be the new thing in novels), and she is on medication that mixed with alcohol can produce images. She is absolutely sure she saw something, but is hazy on the details, can't describe the woman, and was completely drunk when she saw the event. I am a sucker for an unreliable narrator.
I am not going to talk about the twist, but I actually groaned when it was revealed. I will be honest in my review here. Then I thought that if Ware was trying to emulate an Agatha Christie type book, the twist makes perfect sense. If not, it was truly groan worthy.
The book itself moves pretty quickly in the beginning and at the end. The beginning of the middle has a bit of a slowdown, but it revs back up. We get onto the ship very quickly and the dream/murder/drunken images happen very quickly after that. I know it is cliche to say, but this is the perfect beach type read or Saturday type read.
It was a hard call to rate this one because I still had her first book in my head and Ware's sophomore book was good, but not great. Some of the characters are not developed and I even confused a few with one another.
I gave this one 3.5 stars.
Here is your Amazon link- The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
I received this book for free from the publisher with a link to NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.