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The Woman in Cabin 10 Paperback – April 11, 2017
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About the Author
Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer, and is The New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game. Her latest book, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, will be available in May 2018. She is married with two small children. Visit her at RuthWare.com or follow her on Twitter @RuthWareWriter.
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Would you want to spend a lot of time hanging around her? Well, if you can stand to spend 352 pages with her, then you’ll love Lo Blacklock, the protagonist of this book.
I won’t go into a plot synopsis, others have done that already. I managed to solve the “mystery” 66% into the book (I’m on a Kindle), so kudos to the author for making the plot two-thirds difficult. As a reader it’s no fun being more clever than the protagonist.The only mystery to me was how the author was going to fill the other 33% of the book.
Some weird things in this book:
-In an early chapter, which I can only guess is used as a plot device by the author to introduce the boyfriend, Lo has a nonsensical argument with him on par with:
"You did it”
“No you did it”
“I love you”
and breaks up with him. I sat there thinking “What the hell did I just read?”
- At another point, during the cruise Lo locks herself in her cabin and spends a number of chapters trying to figure out how to get out. Ok, I made that up, but if it had happened, it wouldn’t have been out of place.
- Throughout, there was an absolute lack of modern communication on the luxury cruise Lo was on. No phone, no internet, like it’s a pirate ship from 1633. I’m no expert on Wifi at sea, but come on. The Bushmen in the Kalahari have iPhones at this point. It felt like a ruse to support the plot.
- And finally, the casual, illogical, loss of the evidence. It’s like Hercule Poirot saying, “Hey, I think I’ll leave the murder weapon right here, in this house full of suspects. Yeah, it’ll be here tomorrow when I come back for it. Not. worried. at. all.”
I know I’m being really hard on the author, but that’s because the critics’ reviews heightened my expectations by making the book out to be on par with The Usual Suspects, in terms of plot twists. It’s not. And that’s not the author’s fault. The book is a straight up mildly entertaining mystery, and not badly written, but there’s not a lot here to hang your hat on.
The protagonist whines, drinks heavy, and mixes it with anti-depressents. She is a confused woman; one moment she is in love and the next she is breaking up. She repeats herself often, giving the reader no credit and a headache. She repeats herself...oh, I already said that. She curses for drama.The F bomb is used often as a one word sentence. She breathes and proves to us that she can count, one...two...three...breathe.
The entire first portion of the book is long and drawn out about how she really doesn't deserve being on a cruise to write a review. She's right, Lo doesn't deserve to be on this ship. She is a complete idiot. Most of her vocabulary is "Um...I...uh..." This is not the type of story that gets my heart pounding.
Once we ride over the hump of someone being murdered, the story DOES become somewhat readable. I remember thinking, here we go! But the story never produces anything more than a snore. For the remainder of the book we are led to believe that anyone on the cruise could have murdered someone that we don't even know other than the woman in cabin 10.The characters are flat. Each one of the characters kind of mesh together as the same. There is no emotional attachment to any of them.There is little show and all tell. Lo explains throughout the book who did what and why, but we as a reader are never really shown the characters because they are too busy getting a massage or taking a tour of the bridge. On a small boat, there is little to no interaction with any of the passengers. The little interaction we have is down below with the crew when Lo checks to see if she can recognize any of them as the woman in cabin 10. Of course, none of these people actually have anything to do with the murder and are a waste of time for the reader. It could have been shortened and replaced with the characters we never really know that are supposed to be so integral to the story.
Once we are told who the murderer is, the story goes as flat as the thin paper that its written on. In fact, a terrible part of the book is that we never actually have any type of dialogue or interaction with the murderer. NONE!
The opening of the book starts with a break-in to the apartment of Lo. She is a clumsy person and the attacker slams the door into her face: another example of why I ask if every protagonist from the UK has to be a drunken idiot. She walks around for the remainder of the book with a bruise on her face reminding us as readers that we are fools for giving a book like this anything above 2 stars. This part of the book did intrigue me however and I could see why people picked up the book with interest wondering who and why the attacker broke into Lo's apartment. But that part never materializes. The break-in to Lo's apartment has absolutely nothing to do with the book, other than giving her the anxiety that we have beaten into our heads of being attacked.
The other issue is that we never have any real interaction with the murderer, Richard. It could have been a much better book if we actually had a thriller with Richard chasing Lo maybe with a knife and beating the hell out of her. Wouldn't that be exciting? Instead we are told how she feels bad for the woman in cabin 10 who locked her up in a cell for countless boring chapters of all the same. We never have any, and I repeat, any real interaction with Richard other than the hot tub and a brief encounter while Lo is drunk. There I go again. Lo was drunk. The only information we are told about Richard is that he is like Richard Branson; funny how the author didn't even change the first name obviously referencing the famous billionaire in real life. We are later told how dangerous he is, though we never see any of that. It could have been more interesting if Richard had planned the break-in to Lo's apartment in the beginning. That was my guess. It would have been more sinister. Richard the conniving bastard had the entire murder planned and broke into Lo's apartment to set her up as the murderer. But alas, the break-in meant absolutely nothing and we never really meet Richard other than a couple of brief encounters because he is too busy running his large corporate world.
I have always felt the opening line of a book should give us a hint to what a story is about.
"The first inking that something was wrong was waking in the darkness to find the cat pawing at my face. I must have forgotten to shut the kitchen door last night. Punishment for coming home drunk."
This has to be one of the least driving opening statements in a book, but it is telling. She tells us she is drunk. She uses the word was twice in the opening sentence.
I give her one star for being published. Hey, she made it as a published author and a best seller. Thats better than I can say, but I'm still giving it a bad review because she put me through the torture of forcing myself to read such a boring book. Will someone please tell me there are agents and publishers out there who really enjoy a good book and not the same old crap they keep publishing about a drunken unreliable witness? I'm tired of it and you as a reader should be too.