I’m a sucker for a great mystery and this one reeled me right in from the start with that great spray-speckled portal on the front cover overlooking the North Sea and those enigmatic words: The Woman in Cabin 10. Brilliant!
This is the story of Lo Blacklock, an anxiety-riddled, alcohol-loving thirty-something Brit who works as a journalist for a travel magazine. She’s just landed the assignment of a lifetime: a week-long Scandinavian cruise on the maiden voyage of the Aurora, an über-luxurious mini cruise ship that caters to the wealthy. It’s her chance to rise to the next level and Lo heads aboard ready to work. There are only ten cabins on the Aurora, and the guest list for this first run is very selective. Lo finds herself mingling with other notable travel journalists, including ex-boyfriend Ben, the ladder-climbing Tina, hot Lars, power couple Cole and Chloe, obese food critic Archer, and the suave billionaire Richard Lord Bullmer, owner of the Aurora, and his wife Anne Bullmer, the ailing Norwegian heiress. As Lo mingles her way through the crowd, heartily indulging in the exotic cuisine and expensive wine, she searches for the woman she met earlier from cabin 10, the cabin next to hers. The woman isn’t there and Lo brushes it off…until she’s awoken in the middle of the night by a woman’s scream. Next she hears a splash and, when she races out to her balcony, she thinks she can see someone sinking in the cold, dark water. She’s certain she’s witnessed a murder! After fighting a panic attack, she immediately reports the incident to the ship’s security guard, only to find him looking at her strangely. She answers his many questions: Yes, she’d been drinking! Yes, she’s on antidepressants! Yes, she heard a woman scream! Yes, she’s freaking out! Yet it’s only when she’s told that no one was ever in cabin 10 that the real terror takes hold. Lo has six days to prove she’s not crazy and find the identity of the woman in cabin 10.
Sound exciting? To be honest I thought this was going to be a much better read than it was. The main character complains too much to be likable and, unfortunately, the twisty-turny mystery was anticlimactic and far-fetched. Part of the problem for me was that once our heroine figured out what was going on, she never bothered to confront the bad guy. And then I feel obligated to mention the one glaring issue I had with this book, which is the fact that no one on this little cruise ship had cell service, or an internet connection, or a way to contact shore. At the very least every ship at sea these days has a satellite phone. Unfortunately the entire plot of this book relied on the fact that this one didn’t. That being said, if you’re able to overlook these little flaws then you just might enjoy The Woman in Cabin 10.
For a great premise, and the fact that this is a New York Times bestseller (quite a feat in itself!), I give this book three out of five stars.
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Darci H., Reference