Look I was one of the few and the proud who did not like "The Girl on the Train." I read that book and guessed at the ending pretty early on. Too bad "The Woman in Cabin 10" pretty much follows "The Girl on the Train" model though the author changes up things slightly here and there.
We once again have the story taking place in London. The main character Lo works at a travel magazine called Variety and is set to go off on a week long cruise on a new cruise ship where the crew and captain will be there to pamper the guests.
Prior to leaving for the trip, Lo is attacked in her own home after coming home intoxicated (readers quickly find out that Lo is pretty much always intoxicated) and this attack leads to her anxiety disorder getting increasingly worse. Lo still goes on the trip and after settling into her cabin, asks to borrow mascara from the woman in cabin 10. Lo ends up not seeing the woman later on while at the first night's dinner, however after fighting off the advances of an ex boyfriend, drinking so much that it would fell a large dog, she awakens in the middle of the night to a scream and then a splash. Lo believes the woman in cabin 10 was murdered and when it comes to light that cabin 10 is empty and no one on the ship matches Lo's description of the murder, Lo is quick to see enemies at every turn.
The book goes back and forth a lot between Lo's past here and there, but it is a long slow grind. I am sure the author did this to have it in the reader's head that perhaps Lo is mentally disturbed. But you know what undoes all of that? The fact the author in between certain chapters chose to have emails/message board comments/newspaper articles that show that Lo's partner and the rest of her family are concerned that she has gone missing and has not contacted anyone since the ship has set sail. So you as a reader know right away that something is up and you just keep reading til you get to the end for a not so great reveal.
This story really wasn't so much unreliable narrator as much as TSTL character running around throughout this book. Lo sounds like she has a lot of problems and how she is able to even function most of the time due to all of the drinking she is doing surprised me. Heck, at least with Girl on the Train the main character conveniently kept blacking out all of the time.
Lo is also going through days of not sleeping and even when she dozes, it is only for an hour or two. She seems to have ears that can hear above a motor on a large cruise ship that would allow her to hear someone scream (her window wasn't open so still wondering on that) and then she could hear a splash. I just got boating around Greece this summer. Guess what, even on the catamaran I was on, the boat was loud when we were not sailing. The motor is loud and I couldn't hear anyone unless they were directly on top of me on the upper deck sunbathing. Otherwise all you hear is a lot of noise. I sure as heck wouldn't have been able to hear a splash of a body hitting the water either.
Lo treats everyone suspiciously to the point I thought she should be carrying around a sign that read "Think you could be murderer" because for a supposed writer/journalist she was terrible at asking questions and investigating. She just drank and accused. And then got angry she wasn't being believed by a poor guy who did respond to her initial call about what she heard and then with her ex boyfriend who was also on board.
There is not really any development with any other character. We got Lo and that's about it. We have other characters in this story but Ware doesn't really try to go into detail with them at all. We know Lo's partner Judah loves her for reasons that are still unclear to me. She is a pain in the butt. Lo is angry at Ben for breaking up with her 10 years earlier, but you have to wonder how the heck they stayed together as long based on everything we hear about what was going on with Lo.
We have several suspects, but we don't get to spend much time with them really besides Lo's ex. I found myself longing for an Agatha Christie book while reading because with Dame Christie we would have had so many nuances in the writing and the description of people, the food, and the layout of the cabins.
The writing was so-so. There is a lot of discussion of drinking. I like gin but after reading this book I am off of it for a while. I really do wonder if the author did any reconnaissance to luxury cruise ships or yachts though. Some of the things that were described on the boat seemed like a huge risk due to swells (there is mention of two huge chandeliers with swarovski crystal crystals on them) she also mentions hidden doors all over the place to the point that I feel like this boat must have four different levels to it which doesn't make a lot of sense, but maybe if the author had added a diagram or something somewhere that would have made it easier for me to picture it in my mind and also to figure out where everyone was located.
The flow was so slow. I think at one point the only reason why I kept reading as long as I did (I finished this around 2 am and finally dropped off) was because I just wanted to get to the ending. Everything was taking way too long to get going and I should not be rooting for the main character to be murdered to make things interesting (yes I was bored throughout).
The ending was a mess. I don't want to reveal to potential readers, but I guessed at things throughout and I ended up being 90 percent right, (Agatha Christie reader here) the only thing that I guessed wrong at is that once again Lo does not seem that bright and just seemed to go along with things.