Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware


The Woman in Cabin 10 is a suspense novel that is the love child of the classic Hitchcock movie Vertigo and the bestselling novel, Gone Girl.  Unfortunately, the Woman in Cabin 10 has none of the thrilling charm of either of these classics.

Lo Blacklock is a journalist who has been given a plum assignment, to report on a small luxury pleasure craft that will be sailing to Scandinavia.  There are only 10 cabins on this craft.  Right before she leaves, Lo is “burgled” in her flat and keeps having flash backs to it.  She also has an argument with her boyfriend who is off on his own assignment to Russia.  Once on board, Lo meets a mysterious stranger in Cabin 10.  The only problem is she never sees her again and no one on board knows who she is talking about. What happened to the woman in cabin 10?

Lo is the definition of an unreliable narrator.  She is an alcoholic and much is made that she is also on anxiety medication.  She also is having panic attacks from being burgled.  This kept the story in suspense as you weren’t really sure what was going on . . . similar to Gone Girl and to Girl on a Train.  Unfortunately, I never grew to care for Lo as a character or frankly any of the characters.

As I’ve said before on this blog, I love character stories with well-developed characters that I can enjoy the journey with.  I think the fatal flaw with this book that none of the characters were well developed and many storylines were started and then never followed up on.  There were so many hanging threads at the end, it made you wonder – where they put there for a reason or was it just careless construction?  It seemed like careless construction.  When you found out the answers at the end, it didn’t go with the rest of the story and just wasn’t developed enough.  And you didn’t find out all of the answers to all of the questions raised throughout the story.

The tantalizing news flashes kept me intrigued and reading the story as did the fact it was the April Pick for the Page-turners Kewaunee Library Book Club.  I was hoping the resolution of the story would make it all worthwhile, but in my eyes it didn’t.  I went to book club scared I was the only one who felt this way, only to find that everyone else felt the same way.  It’s interesting as this book is getting a lot of buzz and I really wanted to read it, but I’m not sure what all of the buzz is about.  If you read it, what did you like about it?

What is the best suspense novel you have read?  I think in my life that would be Rebecca or My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier.

Overall, The Woman in Cabin 10 was a disappointing suspense novel that had the makings of a good tale, but didn’t quite get there.  I was kept interested until the end, but careless construction and poor characterization really sank the story.

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library

9 comments:

  1. Laura, I appreciate your honest review. I hope the next book you read is more enjoyable. I'm not much of a suspense story reader, but I do enjoy Hitchcock films.

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  2. I was disappointed by this one, too. I guessed part of the mystery with the wife right at the first, and I didn't love the characters, and I finished it wondering why everyone else thought it was so great. It's an okay read, but for me it's not a great one.

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  3. Sounds like a terrific premise that the author didn't know how to handle. What a disappointment. I love psychological thrillers, ala Daphne du Maurier. Rebecca really stands out as top of the heap. Another excellent example is An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, a short story by Ambrose Bierce, that blew me away.

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    1. I LOVE An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, but I haven't read it since college. I just picked up a series of short stories by Ambrose Bierce a couple of months ago and I really need to read it!

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  4. I listened to it and I think that made it better for me. Also, I had just read her In a Dark, Dark Wood which was a serious disappoint for me. Cabin 10 is a million times better than that one so I think I rated in comparison. I'm not sure what all the buzz is about Ruth Ware. I tried her Lying Game and couldn't get through the first two chapters. Well, there are plenty of great thrillers out there! I hope you find a good one!

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    1. Interesting to hear. Book club was wondering if maybe her other books were awesome and that's why this one had such buzz, but it sounds like that wasn't the case!

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  5. Wow am I pleasantly surprised at what a great book this was! I almost NEVER read when my kids are awake and this I couldn't put down. I couldn't guess the villain at ALL and I read many thrillers. Going back to search authors other books. Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys Coben, Sandford etc style writing.

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