I’d heard The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware mentioned a few times before it popped up as the Audible Daily Deal, and it actually turned out my Mum read it on holiday last year! I love a good thriller/mystery so I downloaded it straight away for when I’d finished The Raven King and needed to dive straight into something easy-listening to stave off the book hangover. It definitely did the trick.
TL;DR Lo Blacklock is a travel journalist on a private, luxury cruise who thinks she witnesses a murder. The only problem is, cabin 10 was always supposed to be empty, and no one else saw the woman before she vanished. Is Lo losing her mind, or is something more sinister going on in the Fjords?
As a big cruise fan I couldn’t wait to listen to this audio book and imagine myself on board the ship, cruising the Norwegian Fjords with the characters. I haven’t done a Fjords cruise yet, but my Mum’s been a few times and I’ve seen the photos, so I could picture the setting no problem. The ship was a little more difficult, as it’s only a ten cabin mini cruise ship, like a large yacht really, but with the same finery inside, just on a smaller scale. I don’t get claustrophobic on cruises, but I can imagine feeling really uncomfortable and panicky on a ship that small with the same ten other people every day, and that’s before the events of the story take place!
The overall feel of the story is very Agatha Christie – a small number of people in a remote location with nowhere to go and no escape from the murderer in their midst. Think And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express. There are also elements of The Girl on the Train, Lo is quite a heavy drinker to begin with and it’s her drinking that leads her to question what she saw and whether she imagined or dreamed the whole thing. It’s well paced and tense throughout, and there are a couple of really surprising twists that I didn’t see coming!
At the beginning of the story, Lo’s flat is burgled while she’s sleeping, and when she gets up to see what’s going on the burglar slams the bedroom door in her face and locks her in. This encounter is pretty terrifying, especially for a woman who often sleeps alone when my husband is away with work (luckily we have a dog so I live in hope she’d scare off any potential attackers). I wanted the burglary at the beginning to have deeper implications than it did, but ultimately it served to put Lo on edge from the very beginning, seeing danger and threats everywhere and explaining some of her reactions later.
In addition, Lo suffers from anxiety and takes medication, which has no bearing on her state of mind at the time of the incident, but is used against her by some of the other characters when they find out. I think this is quite a good representation of the stigma mental health issues can suffer, as well as showing that her mental illness doesn’t impact on the plot or make her an unreliable narrator.
The Woman in Cabin 10 is a pretty easy read, perfect for holiday reading and anyone who likes a good murder mystery a la Christie and Hawkins. Lo isn’t always a very likeable character, she’s quite standoffish and rude, and coupled with her heavy drinking she did remind me of Rachel from The Girl on the Train. Ultimately though, I did find myself rooting for her, as I wanted to know what was really going on onboard the cruise ship and whether she was going to be the next victim, or if it was all an elaborate hoax.
I gave the book 3.5 stars, because I did enjoy it and got through it quite quickly, and the twists towards the end were surprising to me, but it wasn’t quite up to the standard of Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train.
Have you read The Woman in Cabin 10? What did you think? Am I the only one who obsessed over Judah? Please tell me I’m not alone!
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