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’m so mad at myself for not reading this book sooner because I actually really loved it. I find Ruth Ware’s writing very compelling and you can easily read it in one sitting if you like. Like The Lying Game, this book had me hooked from start to finish, I could not put it down! I devoured the first 100 pages in a few hours but forced myself to read the rest more slowly.
The start of the book introduces the main character Lo Blacklock and how she actually ends up going on this cruise trip which I liked but admittedly, the start did throw me off a bit because she is burgled in the opening chapter. I thought this was very random but it does become relevant to her character later on. You also find out that she suffers from anxiety, she has panic attacks and she also takes anti-depressants. Her being burgled adds to that and she’s in a right state when she goes on the cruise ship. But she wants to prove herself as a journalist and progress in her career. She believes this is her chance to show that she can take on bigger workloads.
While she is there she has to read a press pack and then do write-ups for her colleagues back home. It’s her chance to make connections with very prestigious people and successful journalists. You’d think she would take this very seriously then but she does not. She fails to read the press pack, she expresses no interest in that or her surroundings. She doesn’t know where she is or where is supposed to be at any given time, she just kind of wanders around like a lost puppy or gets blackout drunk. For a journalist I didn’t think she was a very good one because she barely interacts with anyone when they all meet up for dinner.
You can probably tell now that I did not like Lo as much as I had hoped I would. She is just a very difficult character, she is extremely aggravating and rude to the other characters. Her ex-boyfriend is on the cruise and despite his attempts to repeatedly try and help her, she doesn’t thank him once and is rather nasty to him. It seems like she made it her mission to bully every single person she came across and it just really got on my nerves. She also drank a lot and even though she knew it made her an unreliable witness, she still carried on drinking and got blackout drunk many times. I spent a good chunk of the book just asking “why?” and shaking my head at how stupid she was being.
The plot really takes off when she hears a scream in the night and hears what she believes is a body being thrown overboard. She calls security and by the time this guy comes, there is no sign of a body in the water and no blood to be seen anywhere. Since she stupidly got wasted and is hungover, he doesn’t believe her and thinks she imagined it. Thus she becomes an unreliable witness. It did annoy me though that they further discredited her account when they found out she was taking anti-depressants. Like why should that matter? It’s offensive.
Anyway, she finds out that no one is in Cabin 10 and it’s been sitting empty. All the staff and guests are accounted for, no one is missing, so who is the passenger she saw and believes to be dead? She spends the rest of the story digging and trying to find out who this person is and why they were targeted. She is threatened by an unknown person and finds out that no part of the ship is safe, they could find her anywhere. It’s very slow going but like I said, it’s easy to read and I was actually really invested in the story and finding out what had happened. I was able to swallow my intense dislike for Lo and just carry on reading for the explosive ending that I knew was coming.
The last forty pages were so exciting and really intense. Lo is basically fighting for her life and she’s at the point of passing out from exhaustion. I found her to be more likeable towards the end of the book and I did want to see her get home safe. I didn’t see the plot twist coming at all and it completely threw me. I think the ending did have some loose ends though which could have been tied up better. You were left with unanswered questions but it wasn’t deliberate, I just think it was something that had been missed. Overall though, I did really enjoy this book!