This was meant to be the perfect trip. The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.
A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse.
Except things don’t go as planned.
Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.
Exhausted and emotional, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a mistake—either that, or she is now trapped on a boat with a murderer…
I was a bit hesitant about reading this book, mainly because the premise reminded me too much to the one for The Girl on the Train, and I hated that book so much that I didn’t even finished it. People tell me the movie is not much better. See? I have a very bad record with thrillers where the main protagonist is an unreliable narrator who drinks a lot or takes too many drugs or both. For example, I also hated The Woman in the Window.
Anyways, the fact is that I started reading this novel by Ruth Ware and, although I still had flashbacks of me trying to read that drivel by Paula Hawkins, I found that I couldn’t stop reading. This book is much better written than any of the other books I have mentioned above.
So we have Lo, the protagonist, who is convinced that she has witnessed a murder while going on this cruise, but nobody believes her. Then lots of strange things happen, but always while she is alone, so the rest of the people continue thinking she is just seeing or imagining things. One thing that bothered me was the fact that, just because she suffers from anxiety, she is instantly deemed as an unreliable witness. It just felt it was unfair for people, like me, who get anxiety attacks from time to time. And believe me, hallucinations are not part of the deal.
Overall, what we get is a very atmospheric and claustrophobic thriller quite like any story born from the imagination of Agatha Christie. I mean it in the sense that we have a limited number of suspects in an enclosed location, in this case, a cruise liner. And this was very well concocted, because I kept wondering about many of the possible culprits and I didn’t see coming the twist at the end.
The way it was written, giving us glimpses into the future, was genius. It was like spoilers without spoilers, and they just make you want to keep reading. It felt like the author was saying, “Hey! Don’t stop reading now. Look what’s coming!”
If I have to be really picky and say what I didn’t like, I would say that it was annoying how many times the protagonist was just scared and having panic attacks. Way overdone. A couple of times to make across your point is fine, but more than that you are basically telling us your protagonist is a useless, whining, and whimpering mess of a woman.
To sum up, a great book if you like thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat. I’m really liking this author.
As a result, I give this book… 4 TEA CUPS!