Friday, November 25, 2016

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Where did November go?  Wow--it zipped by so quick I'm scrambling to get my thoughts on Christmas in just 4 short weeks!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  It was a peaceful day filled with tasty food and good company. 

Lo Blacklock, the narrator in The Woman in Cabin 10, however, cannot say she experienced good company or good food during her time spent on a luxury cruise.  As a matter of fact, poor Lo was either completely exhausted, drunk, or seen as slightly crazy throughout the novel.  I have to say I was disappointed with her character, and not terribly impressed with this novel. 

I've read plenty of novels where I didn't like the main character.  Usually it makes for a pretty compelling read, but Lo just completely irritated me.  She suffers from a chronic lack of sleep because of a break-in at her apartment, where she came face to face with the robber.  Locking Lo in her bedroom, he ransacked her place, and left her severely shaken and unable to relax long enough to sleep.  Using booze to help her cope keeps her pretty off balance.  She's given a chance to prove herself at work (she's a travel writer) by taking her boss' place on a inaugural luxury cruise on a boat that is the height of high class, and only has ten cabins.  This is her chance to finally get a promotion--if she snags the right interviews and proves herself.  Only problem is she's running on no sleep and keeps getting offered champagne that she just can't refuse.  Oh yes, and there is the free mini-bar in her cabin. 

On her first night, Lo manages to finally fall asleep, only to be awoken in the middle of the night by a splash.  Moving out onto her balcony, she sees what looks like a smudge of blood on the glass partition between her cabin's balcony, and the balcony for cabin ten.  Convinced that someone was thrown overboard, Lo sets out to notify the boat's head of security. 

Only problem is, there was no one in cabin ten.  But Lo insists that yes, there was--she borrowed mascara from the woman in cabin ten just the night before.  But a thorough search of the boat, along with interviews by every employee on the boat comes up with nothing.  Lo's deepening sense of something being horribly wrong is at war with her doubts about what she may have seen and heard.  That smudge of blood?  It's gone.  That cabin that was strewn with clothes and personal belongings from the night before?  Spotless.  Is Lo imagining things, or did someone go overboard?  Who is hiding the truth? 

Dang, I wanted to like this novel so much.  I can't get past Lo.  I found myself saying out loud "For the love of God, take a nap!"  It drove me nuts.  The whole mystery I found a bit confusing to untangle, and it just seemed to be a thin plot to me.  I had to suspend my belief quite a bit, and I didn't feel the ending was worth the effort.  Boo.  I'll give Ruth Ware's other novel In a Dark, Dark Wood a shot, because I think she certainly has potential, and I've heard a lot of good things about her debut novel.  This one, however, left me wanting my own mini-bar.

Rating:  4/10 for an annoying narrator, and a thin plot.  Just wasn't my cup of tea. 
Fans of The Girl on the Train may find this a good read. 
Available in hardcover, e-book, and audio.

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