Lo Blacklock is excited when she gets a work assignment to cover the story on the maiden voyage of the new cruise ship Aurora. Everything is grand: the large vessel itself as well as the guests aboard. All the feelings of luxury dissipate, however, when Lo is awakened one night to an unmistakable large splash, and the sight of a woman’s body being washed away. When she alerts the crew, nobody seems to know who the woman is and everybody is accounted for. With everyone casting doubts on her account, Lo is determined to find out what happened with the woman she knows she saw.
Both the setting and the premise of The Woman in Cabin 10 makes for a great thriller novel. The claustrophobic feeling of being, essentially, trapped on a boat in close quarters with the same group of people is a great set-up for a good murder mystery. Right off the top, it’s established that the protagonist is an unreliable narrator. She’s got a lot going on and I felt that it set the tone right from page one of what her narration would be like. It definitely adds to the overall plot given that many of the other characters also doubt what she says.
That being said, I found moments of the story to be quite repetitive. When Lo is going around speaking with all of the crew on board the ship, she repeats the same few descriptors of the woman she’s looking for which I felt could either have been more succinctly handled, or differently developed. I felt there were too many people introduced into the novel, giving them enough importance as to name and describe them, but yet have very little interaction otherwise. It was challenging at times to keep track of who was who in the lists of guests let alone to include the people working on the ship as well. And then just as you finally meet everybody possible on the Aurora, the story seemingly just drops mentions of most of the characters.
What I felt most captured, and sustained, my attention were the news bulletins that were inserted into certain points of the book. It provided a perspective that took place outside the ship and helped catapult the story along, adding another layer of mystery. Overall I thought this was a good mystery novel. It had an interesting premise and kept me wondering what to believe and how this was all going to play out.