Published by Gallery/Scout Press on July 19, 2016
Genres: Psychological Thriller
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In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, 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…
I took one look at the quote on the back cover “if you’re a fan of Agatha Christie…” and read a few of my favorite book bloggers talking this one up and I just had to read it. I was unfamiliar with the author until this book released so I was eager to give her a try.
Well, I really wanted to say I loved this one and I was riveted, but that turned out not to be the case. I think I went in with incredibly high expectations and an expectation of a Christie whodunnit when this wasn’t Christie and it wasn’t fair to give it such a high standard to reach. This one was by no means lousy and the writing was strong and good. The setting of a cruise off the coast of Norway and the assembled group of high flyers and travelers was a nice International Intrigue feeling. There is a sense of wondering if the narrator is reliable or not which I do love. I liked the ‘did it really happen that way? Was it even real?” Quite a clever premise and set up.
But, when it came down to it, The Woman in Cabin 10 turned out to be a so-so read for me until the last third when it finally grabbed me. If I hadn’t seen others I trust loving on it, I might very well have stopped reading early on.
I didn’t connect with the female protagonist, Lo. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t exactly like her or admire her either. She’s not a nice person and she drinks enough to destroy her liver and is definitely an alcoholic which is nuts since she’s got an anxiety disorder and is on medication. I think I was meant to be wary of connecting with her and wondering about her part in all this.
No, what almost had me it setting aside was me impatiently waiting for something to happen between little blips of action or suspense. I found the action-suspense points good, but the slow built to each one had me drifting as I flipped pages waiting for the next intense moment. I didn’t feel like there was a point to much of it like it was treading water until the next momentous event could occur and I spent a lot of time in Lo’s head which wasn’t interesting to me and was frankly annoying because she dwells on stuff and leaps with her logic. To be fair, I might not have been in the right frame of mind for this style of psychological thriller. I think I was looking for a more pounding pace which is why the last portion was when I finally clicked with this book. It just took off like a rocket and left me breathless and twitching for what would come next.
So, in the end, I was glad to have read this one and I do want to read more of the author’s books, but now I know what to expect and I think that will make all the difference in the world.