I reviewed Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood back in October, thankful to the author for providing me with a book capable of capturing my attention while I sat in a stuffy jury duty waiting room for four days. The book was a captivating thriller that took place over the course of a weekend bachelorette party gone wrong. Ware did an excellent job justifying plot twists and turns that, if attempted by many other authors, would have come off entirely implausible. In the months since the book’s release, I have read a number of thrillers, but only one [What She Knew] has had me hooked in a similar way.
Just yesterday, in the train on my way to Newark airport, I finished the book I had intended to carry me through at least the first two days of my vacation. When I attempted to purchase new books on my iPad, I encountered an error message [this is why I despise e-readers], and when I arrived at Newark, I was disheartened to see that there was just one Hudson News in my terminal, with no more than twenty books to choose from—most of which I had already read. I almost passed over “The Woman in Cabin 10”—it looked, at first glance, like a John Grisham or James Patterson-style book, which I’ve never been particularly interested in. It was only when it dawned on me how truly limited my selection was that I picked up the book—and realized with excitement that it was Ruth Ware’s latest book.
I consider myself a quick reader in general, but I tore through The Woman in Cabin 10 with abandon—even by my own standards. The book charts the course [ha-ha, I’m so punny] of a luxury, 10-cabin cruise ship’s maiden voyage around the Norwegian fjords. The protagonist, Lo, a travel writer at Velocity magazine, is invited on the ship because the magazine’s editor is out on maternity leave. Lo looks at the experience as an excellent networking opportunity—until, on the first night, she hears someone being thrown overboard in the cabin next to hers—#10. When she alerts the ship’s crew, they brusquely inform her that no one is staying in the adjacent cabin, and she begins to question her sanity—until a series of strange things begin happening to hear that make it clear someone knows what she saw…and will stop her no matter what the cost.
It’s difficult to review thrillers without giving too much away, but this one now holds a firm spot among my top five. The prose and pace of The Woman in Cabin 10 are reminiscent of recent smash-hit novels like Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, but the eccentric cast of characters and gloomy Scandinavian setting lend a Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [or even The Farm, for those who really follow my reviews]-like element to the book. While it seems to have flown largely under the radar since it’s release, I’m marking this one down as a must-read.