The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Rating: 3 stars
Ruth Ware is a new author for me, I'd heard really good things about her first novel 'In A Dark Dark Wood' but haven't as yet got around to that because when I heard the title of her newest novel 'The Woman In Cabin 10' I have to be honest and say I really couldn't wait to dive into this one first.
Ware is joining the raft of female writers who are all turning their attentions to the thriller genre following the success of novels such as Gone Girl and The Girl on The Train. Having spent the last week getting through a sizeable novel I wanted a quick read that would grab my attention and have enough suspense to keep me hooked and pull me through the slump you often get after you finish a really great book. I had high hopes for The Woman In Cabin 10.
This book is the story of Lo, a magazine journalist for a travel publication who is set to join an exclusive set of guests on the maiden voyage of the boat the Aurora Borealis. The boat is owned by millionaire Richard Bullmer and Lo is attending so she can publicise the boat and hopefully gain Bullmer's advertising input towards her magazine. Things begin to go wrong though before Lo even leaves home after her flat is broken into a few days before her departure for the cruise, this shakes her confidence and leaves her fearful and tense.
The first thing I found about this book was the exclusiveness of the boat that Lo was sent on. Only containing around 20 passengers it means we have a small cast of people to get to know. It also is described really well by Ware as she seeks to outline the luxury of the vessel and the lengths to which the staff and owners will go to please their guests. Lo, however, is woken one night by the sound of a woman's scream from the cabin next to hers, Cabin 10, and things get more mysterious when she hears what sounds like someone being thrown overboard. She immediately informs security only to be told that everyone onboard is accounted for and the cabin next to hers is completely unoccupied and has been since the boat left port after a guest cancelled at the last minute. Lo is suddenly doubting what she heard and everyone is questioning her reliability and sanity.
Firstly with this book I have to be honest and say that I found Lo a really difficult main character to read. Whether this was a conscious decision by Ware having now read the whole book I am a little unsure. I found Lo to be quite unstable, she is often reliant upon alcohol and says early on in the book she is on medication which means that you doubt her versions of events as a reader. Also, she is meant to be on the boat as part of her job as a journalist yet she came across as enormously uninterested to me and like she wasn't very good at her job. I wanted to give her a shake and tell her to pull herself together. I struggled with the early chapters of the book purely because she was grating on my nerves. I almost at one point was debating whether I could read a whole book from her perspective.
Secondly, I have to reflect upon the hints of similarity to Agatha Christie, the set up of this book reminded me a little of the Queen of Murder. The small exclusive set of guests, many wealthy and them all being stranded offshore on a floating luxury hotel whilst someone witnesses a murder really did initially have tones of Christies writing about them. Whilst this wasn't fully explored and only lasted through the first chapters of the book it did make me think that Ware was possibly more skilled than I gave her credit for and was one of the reasons I began to wonder if instead of writing an annoying main character on purpose she did so to add to the suspense of the novel.
The second half of this novel is much more engaging than the first, the tension ramps up quite quickly and I read pretty solidly the last 100 pages in a few hours without wanting to tear myself away. There are snippets of emails and communications from Lo's family and friends at home between sections of the book which add to the questions surrounding the mystery onboard and help to raise the tension. I also worried as we neared the end that the conclusion was going to be a little uninspiring but the last few pages of the book manage to redeem it and add an additional twist that you aren't quite expecting and give a sense of fulfillment and conclusion to the story.
I liked the book, I wouldn't say it's the best thriller I've read and I found it a good enough read to now try another of the authors novels but I'm still to be convinced as to her calibre of writing in comparisson to others in this genre at the moment hence my rating of only 3 stars.