Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Woman in Cabin 10

So many mystery stories, so little time.

Or, perhaps, too much time, and few well-written mystery stories.

Except for this one:  'The Woman in Cabin 10', written by the incomparable Ruth Ware. Her previous novel, 'In a Dark, Dark Wood' had such an incredible premise, and it left me feeling so claustrophobic, much like her new one.  Ware is a good writer, indeed. 

Imagine that you're at sea in a beautifully outfitted luxury cruise ship.  And imagine that you have an assignment for a travel magazine; to interview the owner of said ship and talk up the accommodations and staff.  The fabulous life on calm seas, with jovial guests, the best food, and sparkling, calm seas.

But then you've had a bit too much to drink, and while you're alone in your luxurious cabin, you hear the sound of a body being thrown overboard.  When you try to investigate, you find that everyone is accounted for.  The ship sails on as if nothing's happened.  However, what doesn't help the situation is the fact that you've been involved in a most unfortunate incident before you left for your assignment, an incident that left you feeling paranoid and scared.  

Laura Blacklock (better known as 'Lo') is given the chance of a lifetime and the opportunity to gain a promotion at the travel magazine for which she works, but when she knows, just knows that a body has been thrown in the ocean, no one believes her, and she feels as if her whole life is being questioned.
But she knows what she heard, and she's desperate to prove it.  

Ware's previous novel, 'In a Dark, Dark Wood' kept me guessing until the very end, and her new one is no different.  Just when I thought I knew what was really going on, she pulled me in another direction.  And the end wasn't what I imagined.  

The only bone I have to pick with this new one is with the protagonist.  As with most recent mysteries I've read, if it contains a female protagonist (case in point:  'The Girl on the Train'), she is usually addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. Why?  Are those particular weaknesses supposed to provoke sympathy from the reader?  And is the reader supposed to think that because the protagonist is an addict, they are to naturally question the character's discoveries?  The answer is 'Yes'...but it's becoming a bit overplayed.

As I usually don't find such weaknesses employed with most male mystery characters, I'd like to read about a woman who knows her own mind, and can contribute more to the plot than the reason why she has to take anti-depressants or consume mass quantities of alcoholic drinks.  Sure, she can be questioned, but I want her to believe her discovery with every fiber of her beingwithout the impediment of drugs or alcohol.

Author Ruth Ware
Yes, I want a Superwoman.  Even a Wonder Woman.  But one that is down-to-earth.  

I want a character who will inspire me, who will make me cheer for them.

I certainly hope that the talented Ms. Ware's next female protagonist will rise above.  Like I said earlier, Ms. Ware is such a good writer.

Book Hog can't wait to read her next one.

'The Woman in Cabin 10', by Ruth Ware, and published by Scout Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is available at your local library and favorite bookstore.  Book Hog would like to thank Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to review and highly recommend this book!