The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Before The Woman in Cabin 10, these were my ocean-related anxieties: sharks. Barracudas. Sting rays. Rogue waves. Now I can add being murdered at sea to the list. Thank you, Ruth Ware and The Woman in Cabin 10.
Lo Blacklock, a writer for travel magazine Velocity, is invited to attend the inaugural cruise—from England to Norway—of a super-luxury boutique ship. Before she leaves on her trip, she is the victim of a home burglary, an incident which traumatizes her. Fresh from this event, Lo is all the more distressed when she believes that her neighbor aboard the ship, the woman in cabin 10, has been murdered and thrown off the side of the ship.
Lo’s anxiety is exacerbated by the fact that after she reported the incident, the officer on board found no evidence of a murder, and indeed, no evidence that a woman (or man) ever stayed in cabin 10.
Did Lo imagine all of this, and if not, can she trust anyone on-board?
Mysteries abound in this book, and Ware did an excellent job of keeping me invested in the story. Lo makes slow progress with her mystery throughout the novel; just enough to keep the reader invested without spoiling everything too soon. (Some TV shows that I’ve watched should take note of this. I’m looking at you, The Blacklist. FYI, I stopped watching this show a season or two ago because of this very issue.)
When the answers are revealed to Lo’s Cabin 10 inquiry, I was truly surprised. Luckily for the reader, Ware doesn’t end the drama there. You have to keep reading until the end to figure out what happens (or happened) to the woman in cabin 10 and what happens (or happened) to our narrator, Lo. I’m trying not to ruin the plot for you, in case you haven’t noticed.
Some of you might be familiar with Ware’s first novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood. In both cases, Ware offers us a female narrator who feels virtually isolated with her terror—an effective, and also, fright-inducing narrative strategy.
I have to say that despite this similarity, I enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10 much more than In a Dark, Dark Wood. Perhaps it was because of Ware’s evocative language—the repeated imagery of a victim floating amidst the cold fjord waters and seaweed is particularly haunting. Or maybe it was because the thought of not being believed has been a fear of mine since I saw a random movie about a night security guard as a kid (it wasn’t Night at the Museum). Or maybe I just liked Lo, and pitied her for having one of the worst possible weeks that I could think of.
Regardless, this was a well-written, suspenseful thriller that makes me look forward to Ware’s next book and will make me think twice before boarding a cruise ship.
Check Out: I recommended Tana French’s The Trespasser in a previous post, along with S. J. Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep and the Goddess J. K. Rowling's Robert Galbraith series. I think we’re really living in the age of the thriller/mystery. What thriller/mysteries have you read lately?
About the Author
When my toddler and infant sleep--or are otherwise engaged--I write, read, and eat lots of chocolate.