Monday, August 28, 2017
Published July 2016 by Gallery/Scout Press
Source: bought on Amazon Prime Day - I couldn't help myself that day!
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…
Once I picked this book up, I found excuses to read every chance I got. I haven't been doing that in months. Was it just a case of the right book at the right time or is this really that good a book? Both, I think.
Before arriving on board the Aurora, Lo's had a break in at her apartment that leaves her unable to sleep. So desperate is she for sleep that she's taken to medicating herself with liquor just to get a couple of hours of it. Sleep deprived and often drunk or hungover, Lo is something of an unreliable narrator. I do love an unreliable narrator done right and Ware does it right. The boat is not that big; everyone on board is accounted for and there is no record that there was ever a woman in Cabin 10. And Lo had been drinking heavily the night before. Lo is the perfect blend of fragile and fierce. She is terrified, certain that her life is in danger; but she is not about to back down in the face of the gaslighting she is subjected to when she presses the issue. Which also makes this a very timely book.
The book is filled with twists, turns, and tension. Ware throws out red herrings you can't help but bite on; even that early break in threw me for a long time, certain that it was connected. Clue are found only to have them disappear. At one point I had an inkling where the story might go and, to an extent, I was right. Except that I really wasn't and the truth completely took me by surprise. The ending was, perhaps, a bit too tidy but also satisfying, and easy enough to forgive after the claustrophobic ride Ware had just taken me on.
If you're looking for a book to lose yourself in for a couple of days (or, like me, to stay up way too late reading), I definitely recommend The Woman In Cabin 10. Now to find my copy of Ware's debut novel, In A Dark, Dark Wood.