New review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

By Ekta R. Garg

August 17, 2016

Genre: Murder mystery

Rated: Bordering on Bookmark it!

A travel journalist deals with the emotional fallout of a traumatic event in her personal life while on her latest assignment on a luxury cruise ship. Just as she tries to pull herself together, she witnesses what she believes is a murder…except no one on the ship is missing. She will have to prove to everyone—including herself—that despite recent troubling events her journalistic instincts are still as sharp as ever. Author Ruth Ware takes readers on a wild, fun ride in the murder mystery The Woman in Cabin 10.

Laura “Lo” Blacklock can’t believe she’s landed her latest assignment. Richard Bullmer, British business tycoon, has launched a new concept in cruise ship traveling. It’s the ultimate in luxury cruising with less than a dozen cabins on board and every indulgence a person of wealth and power could possibly desire. Bullmer has invited a few choice guests and members of the media to cover the maiden voyage on the Aurora, and Lo gets to stay in one of the plush cabins while spending a week hobnobbing with some of England’s elite and sailing through the Norwegian fjords to observe the Northern Lights.

Days before she sets foot on board, however, Lo experiences a traumatizing event. She barely has time to recover before getting on the ship and trying to impress Bullmer and the other passengers. The details of the event haunt her, but she tries to concentrate on the opportunity to mingle with other journalists and England’s rich and powerful.

A chance encounter with the woman in the cabin next to hers turns into more than a casual meeting when Lo witnesses what she thinks is a murder. When Lo tries to bring the attention to the ship’s security and other crew members, though, they discover that everyone is accounted for. No one is missing. Lo begins to question herself, but her instincts won’t let it go. Something serious took place, and even with her own misgivings and issues she won’t stop until she figures out just who died.

Author Ruth Ware takes her readers through the paces of a good old-fashioned murder mystery. She offers what the genre does best: a protagonist with deep flaws. Misdirection. Red herrings relevant to the story. A list of suspects each more unreliable than the last. And enough conflict and tension to keep readers swiping or flipping pages in an eager bid to find out what’s really happening.

Protagonist Lo does suffer from some annoying traits. She keeps turning to alcohol to solve her problems and her deep insecurity might make readers wonder how she manages to get out of bed in the morning, never mind hold down a steady job or pursue a relationship. Ware also leaves a few minor questions unanswered. Some readers may appreciate this cloudiness in the story; others might want to know everything by book’s end.

By the same token that Lo’s alcoholism impairs her judgment, it also offers Ware the opportunity to sow doubt in Lo’s trustworthiness in the way that seasoned authors can and should. Can Lo count on herself? Can readers count on her? Ware keeps readers guessing to the very end about the identity of the victim and the series of events leading to her death, and she doesn’t let up on the tension even with just pages to go until the end. It’s a rollicking fun ride that will make readers want to go back to the front of the book as soon as they reach the end of it.

Readers will find that The Woman in Cabin 10 Borders on Bookmarking it!

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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