Book Review – The Woman In Cabin 10

Title: The Woman In Cabin 10
Author: Ruth Ware
Format: Hardback
Published: 2017

“You’re going on a cruise right? I have a book for you to read!” That is exactly how The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware fell into my lap.  This book was suspenseful and kept me guessing with most every turn of the page.

Follow along as Lo Blacklock, the book’s protagonist, takes a journey on a private cruise ship for work.  She is neurotic, has a borderline drinking problem, and one starts to think she’s just crazy and imagining everything.  Fair warning right now, if you’re not a fan of cursing, do not pick this book up.

She falls victim to a home invasion in England and debates about taking the journalism job for her magazine.  Her boss is pregnant and cannot go so she sees this as her big break and goes anyway.  This plays a huge part as she keeps reliving this break in and drinks to try and forget it.

So our journey on the ship starts around a murder that Ms. Blacklock thinks she witnessed.  We settle in to the journey and then the book gets stale.  It’s her drinking, hung over, and drinking again.  She starts to tell her secrets of what she thinks she saw and heard to a few guests and crew and you get the feeling that maybe this book is taking one on a wild goose chase.  No one believes her and everyone seems to tell her a guest she is certain she saw was never on the ship at all.

The author also mixes in a little romance with her boyfriend she left at home and an ex-boyfriend who happens to be cruising with her.  Do not get too excited over this, it’s a very small part in the storyline.  I almost feel like it was put in to add some fluff and increase the number of pages.  Her relationship with her boyfriend almost becomes an annoyance where I want to yell at her, “shit or get off the pot!” She would be that friend that is always Debbie Downer and you would cringe when she would call you with her problems.  While there was some lack in the middle of the story I was hooked enough in the beginning to follow through with finishing the book.

We reach a point where finally, some action!  Lo becomes trapped and we find out whether or not she’s crazy.  Was there a murder?  Did she really see a guest everyone claimed was never on board?  All these questions get answered.  The pace at the end of the book moves fast.  There’s action and I was left on the edge of my seat, anxiously turning the next page to see how things would turn out.

The end of the book brings everything together and it all makes sense.  It answers any and all questions you could possibly have had at the beginning of the book.  Overall, this book was well written and while it gets stale in the middle, the beginning and the end make up for it.  I will leave it with a rating of 3.5, I could see how this book could not be interesting to some and then all enthralling to others.  If you pick this book up let me know what you think!

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Writer Wednesday – E Chris Garrison

 

1. Tell us who you are and a little bit about what you write.

Hello! I’m E. Chris Garrison, I’m an author with Seventh Star Press who writes science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk books. Most of my work is infused with suspense and humor and focuses on characters and their relationships.


2. What is something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?

My wife and I have one of the oldest same-sex marriages in the state of Indiana — retroactively. Bonus surprise factoid: the Road Ghosts novels’ titles are all taken from Robert Johnson songs.


3. What made you become a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed hearing and telling stories. I grew up as an avid reader in a family of storytellers, and I enjoyed creative writing as early as the first grade (first recorded story was “The Bionic Turkey”, a holiday-themed micro flash fiction story). I did become more serious about writing in 2007 after my writerly uncle Chuck passed away. I decided to throw my grief into writing the first of the Road Ghosts novels, Four ’til Late. I thoroughly enjoyed writing that book, so I wrote its sequel, Sinking Down, and rounded out the Trilogy by writing Me and the Devil. In total, I’ve written and published 8 novels and one collection of short stories, and have another Tipsy Fairy Tale novel in the works.


4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m what they call a “planster” in that I am a pantser at heart, but I find it’s useful to have a loose framework to work within. What I’ll do is plan out things I’d like to have happen in a book, then arrange them in order and make a very rough outline. From there, I “pants” the chapters, and if something happens organically that improves on the original plan, I alter the framework accordingly. Planning everything out just feels too restrictive to me, and my writing ends up being too stilted and stifled as a result. But with no plan at all, it is all too easy to ramble off on tangents or have everything grind to a halt when I run out of forward momentum.


5. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?

One of the worst problems I’ve had to cure myself of was shifting point of view. The rough draft of Four ’til Late had the reader’s point of view bopping around from character to character to the point that I was asked, “who is the main character in this book?”. And sure, the omniscient point of view can be valid for some stories, but I’ve learned to reign it in to “third person limited” where the reader follows just the main character, can only hear that character’s thoughts, and so on. The lesson to be learned is, what seems obvious to the writer isn’t necessarily clear to the reader, and keeping a consistent point of view is an important part of that.

 

6. What is the last book you finished reading? What did you think?

The last book I finished was A Stitch in Time, by Andrew J. Robinson. It’s a fictional memoir by the character Elim Garak from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I don’t often read tie-in novels, but this was recommended to me by a friend, and since it was written by the actor who played Garak, I thought it’d be interesting. It was a good read, and dug deep into the character’s history and also featured some of what he went on to do after the end of the TV series. It explains so much about the character, and is done in a way that has you rooting for the shifty spy. I had some issues with the formatting of the Kindle ebook, there seemed to be errors in converting to that format that weren’t caught by the book’s editors. I was taken out of the story here and there by those glitches, but overall it was a really good read.


7. Would you like to pimp a specific project?

This is a little like asking a parent to choose among her children to name a favorite. This blog post is a part of the Road Ghosts Omnibus tour, so that makes the most sense to mention in this interview. The Road Ghosts may have been my first three books, but I have to admit that I still love to reread them myself now and again. Doing so brings back fond memories of the times in which I wrote them, and some of the characters evoke the special people in my life who inspired them. They were so much fun for me to write, and I feel that excitement all over again when I read them. It is my fondest hope as a writer that the excitement and fun is also felt by my readers.


8. Is there a URL or social media account you’d like to share?

You may find all things related to my writing at http://sillyhatbooks.com and get updates on my “E. Chris Garrison” Facebook page.


9. Mini guest blog post – 200-500ish words about something writing related

I want to talk about the music I listen to while writing novels. My is sometimes to blot out sounds in the environment around me, whether I’m in a coffee shop, a brewpub, or at home (having a TV on in the background is death to my productivity). But choice of music is important. If I pick something with lyrics, those lyrics may influence the tone of what I write. Worse, they can be distracting, in conflict with the words I’m trying to type. So, quite often, my go to music to help with the flow of writing is movie soundtracks. I find Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie to be fast-paced and quirky, and the atmosphere it evokes is perfect for writing steampunk, such as my Trans-Continental books. When I’m more in a science fiction mood, I’ll put on Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack, which also has a quick tempo and grabs my imagination. Another all-purpose favorite is James Horner’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan soundtrack for its tense, emotional beat. Now, I have listened to hand picked playlists of classic rock and blues music to set the tone for my Road Ghosts and Tipsy Fairy Tales books, but I do so accepting the trade-offs of a better matching mood to the songs at the expense of some lyrical distraction at times. Music to accompany writing is a very personal choice, but it’s important to learn what works best for you.

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