When Laura (Lo) Blacklock’s basement apartment is broken into, while she is there, she is frightened for her life. But when the intruder finally leaves, and all she has lost is her handbag and its contents, including her phone, she should be grateful. But she is terrified, claustrophobic, and shaky.
So why would she agree to go on a cruise for her magazine, Velocity? A cruise might be the last place someone like her would go. But she does.
Her boyfriend Judah is headed to Moscow for his work, but he is not sure she should go either. Set in London, the story takes us next to the ship.
The Aurora Borealis is on its maiden voyage, headed to the Northern Lights…and it is a beautiful, yet very small ship. Activities are planned for every moment of each day…but Lo is still having trouble sleeping. So it is not surprising that she awakens quickly when she hears a sound…like a big splash, followed by a scream.
But none of the crew are giving her any credibility when she tells her tale, not even when she says that earlier she had met a woman in Cabin 10, and had borrowed some mascara. She even shows them the wand. Nilsson, the captain’s assistant, who insists that there is no guest in Cabin 10 and there never has been, seems especially condescending, suggesting she might have been drunk…and then mentioning the medications she is on. How does he know?
The Woman in Cabin 10 was a riveting tale that kept me hanging on by a thread as it catapulted from one strange event to another. Narrated in Lo’s first person voice, we see the other passengers from her perspective. They all seemed untrustworthy, including the owners, Lord and Lady Bullmer. Anne Bulmer looked like she was on death’s door, and apparently was a cancer patient. Richard Bullmer was especially gregarious, but that would not be unusual. Yet at this point, everyone seems suspicious.
Others include people Lo has met before, like Ben Howard and Tina West. Ben was a former lover, years ago, so she doesn’t think she can really trust him. Tina has a reputation for pushing her way to the top.
Throughout the tale, we suspect everyone on the ship, and then, as stranger events unfold, we are not sure that Lo is going to survive.
An alternate narration includes e-mails and news accounts suggesting something going on behind the scenes back in London, something that does not bode well for Lo.
The denouement, followed by an unexpected tidbit at the end, was stunning…and left me feeling that I could finally let out the breath I had been holding. 5 stars.