“The Woman in Cabin 10”
By Ruth Ware
Scout Press (340 pages, $26)
Laura Blacklock is a writer for a British travel magazine. When a dream assignment lands in her lap — covering the weeklong inaugural cruise of a five-star “boutique” ship with just 10 swanky cabins for passengers pursuing the Northern Lights in the Norwegian fjords — she leaps at the chance.
But the poor girl is off to a rough start. Her flat is broken into just before she leaves for the trip, and her encounter with the masked burglar leaves her terrorized and on edge. She leaves for the cruise exhausted from the police investigation and a lack of sleep.
On her first night in the lap of luxury, she succumbs to an abundance of gourmet food, free wine and whiskey and falls into a deep slumber.
She awakes to an unidentifiable noise — a muffled scream? — and hears an ominous splash from the veranda of Cabin 10 next door. Running to her balcony, Laura glimpses what she’s sure is a dainty white hand disappearing under the frigid North Atlantic waves. Blood smears the glass railing next to hers.
Her dream trip turns to nightmare as she tries to persuade the ship’s officers of what she saw, even though all passengers and crew are accounted for. She’s seized by suspicion, paranoia and panic attacks, fueled by the claustrophobia of being on a small ship far from cellphone reception and police.
With a churning plot worthy of Agatha Christie, and fresh on the heels of her best-selling thriller “In a Dark, Dark Wood,” Ruth Ware twists the wire on readers’ nerves once again. “Cabin 10” just may do to cruise vacations what “Jaws” did to ocean swimming. You’ll be afraid to go out on the water. (TNS)