Review: Journalist uncovers mystery in 'Woman in Cabin 10'

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"The Woman in Cabin 10" (Scout Press), by Ruth Ware

The Aurora, a boutique cruise liner, is small with only 10 cabins and luxurious with chandeliers and endless champagne. Journalists, a photographer, investors and even a model comprise the passenger list for the maiden voyage and among them we meet Lo Blacklock, a travel journalist with a withering love life and a vexing drinking problem. And so begins "The Woman in Cabin 10," Ruth Ware's snappy thriller set on the high seas.

After a lavish welcome dinner, Lo is awakened by a scream from the room next door and the sound of what she believes is a body hitting the water. But the head of security investigates and shows Lo that the room is empty. He suggests that she's had too much to drink (which might be true) and dismisses her claims. Adding to the confusion: All of the passengers and staff are accounted for. As the ship continues its journey through the North Sea, Lo becomes desperate to solve the mystery. But while she presses on to uncover what happened, someone is determined to stop her.

Ware shows that a classic plotline — one character claiming foul play while everyone else denies a victim ever existed — still works. The cruise ship provides a claustrophobic setting complete with secret hallways, stairwells and passages, adding a delightfully eerie nature to every scene. Lo is a refreshingly textured investigator with no secret detective skills or props at her disposal other than journalism experience. To top it off, her drinking habit will leave readers wondering whom they can trust.

The first chapter will grab your attention, force it against a wall and hold it there until the end.

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Online:

http://www.ruthware.com/

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This image provided by Scout Press shows "The Woman in Cabin 10" (Simon & Schuster), by Ruth Ware. Ware's snappy thriller is set on the high seas. (Courtesy of Scout Press via AP)


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