Lo Blacklock is a reporter for a travel magazine, and she just got a great opportunity: she’s going to cover the maiden voyage of a small luxury cruise ship in Scandinavia. On the first night, however, Lo believes she witnesses the murder of the woman in cabin 10, the one next door to hers. When she informs security, she’s told that there isn’t anyone booked in cabin 10.
All the drunken uncertainty of The Girl on the Train along with all the intrigue of an Agatha Christie manor house murder, with some Patricia Highsmith stuff thrown in for fun. Lo is desperate to solve this bizarre mystery, because she’s positive that she spoke with a woman saying in cabin 10–and just as positive that she witnessed her murder. She finds herself stymied at every turn, and tries to pick out suspects from those on board the ship.
I shared this at Simply Books! on Saturday, and found myself unable to give any detail about the plot and overall feel except for the references I just gave above. One of the other members spoke up and asked, “If people aren’t familiar with the genre and don’t get all the references, is it still a good book?”
Ooops. I was quick to reply with a resounding “Yes!” Because The Woman in Cabin 10 is clever, has a fantastic setting, a main character who’s both flawed and enjoyable, and some great supporting cast members. I won’t spoil the climax and the ending, but I thought it was nicely done and left an eerie sort of chill.
As in many cases, I think I’ve just reached the point where I’m burned out on thrillers. They’ve become a game, almost, since I’ve read so many of them so close together. It’s spot the reference, spot the influence, spot the twist. (I mean come on though one of the characters in this book is straight-up reading a Highsmith novel at one point so those in on it know just where this story’s going…) For me, that’s always been part of the fun of thrillers. I love seeing all that in a novel because it adds layers to my reading experience. There have just been so. Many. Of. Them. I’m tapped out.
If your Thriller mojo is still working, though, definitely give this one a try! Ware’s work is twisty and smart, and she’s a deft hand with misdirection in her narrative. She’s also got a great feel for detailed settings and atmosphere.