BEFORE THE BOOK:
As with THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO, the universe has been steering my book choices again. Author Ruth Ware’s name recently popped up in the book review section of my newspaper. Then, I saw a copy of Ware’s 2017 novel THE LYING GAME sitting on a friend’s hall table. It sported a peppy yellow sticker on the cover declaring it one of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks. Finally, while cruising the stacks at my local library (Yes, I do that, and you should too.), I found myself face to face with several of Ware’s books. A nice little row of thrillers, staring at me. But which to choose?
Since I am currently reveling in the glories of fall (highs are no longer in the 90s in my South Florida city), one title jumped out at me with its autumnal vibes. THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10. Ooooooh. Spooky, woodsy, perfect. I scooted out of the library with my next boss book in my hands.
Had I read the jacket copy before borrowing THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10, I would have realized that the titular cabin is not a cozy log structure in the woods, complete with creaking porch and crackling fire. It is, in fact, a sleek and sumptuous cabin aboard an exclusive new cruise ship which sails through the Norwegian fjords. Travel writer, Lo Blacklock, will be aboard the Aurora on her maiden voyage, scribbling away about the glamorous guests, stunning scenery, and unparalleled perks. Though things start out swimmingly (as they often do in mystery thrillers), Lo soon hears the unmistakable sounds of a woman screaming followed by a telltale splash in the middle of the night. She’s sure of it. And yet…all the guests and crew remain accounted for.
While I judged this book by its cover (or at least its title) and was led astray, I’m still very excited to dive into these icy Norwegian waters. I hope I come up gasping for air, gripped by fear and loving every minute of it.
Okay, let’s make this quick. I’d like to get back to my book.
Setting this mystery on an intimate and exclusive cruise ship (with only ten cabins, it’s really more of a luxury yacht than an ocean liner) makes for a very creepy vibe. If there was indeed a murder, that means the murderer must still be on board. Lo Blacklock has no means of escape. Her heavy boozing has also made her an unreliable witness (and likely an unreliable narrator), so not everyone on the ship takes her story seriously. The deeper I get into this book, the more the sense of danger increases. I am speed reading these pages as fast as my eyes will carry me because I really can’t wait to see what happens next.
All right, enough chit chat. I have a novel to finish!
I was really in the mood for a fast-paced, page-flipping book, and boy did this one deliver. Aside from one very small section that did drag on (coupled with the fact that I figured out a big twist a chapter or two before the narrator did), this book was pure fun. Was it scary? No. Did it keep me up at night? No. I think I might like to find a truly creepy book that messes with my brain. (Something to think about for future columns.) But if you’re looking for a book that sucks you in, keeps you guessing (mostly), and throws in a few extra plot twists for good measure, this is the one for you.