In what I would consider to be one of the most bone chilling thrillers that I have read in 2016, I immediately recommend that you go to Amazon and put this in your cart for payday. You’re welcome. Make sure to buy the hardback–it’s only a dollar more than the Kindle version, and you will want to share it with a friend when you’re finished!
The entire book reads with a constant humming of danger and “whodunit” to keep your normally manageable daily anxiety on an entirely new level of HIGH.
Honestly I didn’t go into this novel with a whole lot of confidence. I had just finished a few romance novels and wasn’t even in the mood to read any type of thrilling fiction. Never mind the fact that the last few thrillers I had read left me a bit high and dry–and I wasn’t a cult fan of Ruth Ware’s first book, In a Dark, Dark Wood.
First you are going to meet Lo Blacklock, who’s a journalist with a naturally inquisitive mind. Lo writes for a travel and lifestyle magazine which leads her to be be a passenger aboard the Aurora Borealis. Covering the maiden voyage of the ship is the break of a lifetime for Lo. Even before Lo boards the ship we get the sense that she a very nervous human being. She seems shaken–stating that she can’t sleep, think, or forget the man who broke into her apartment the few days before boarding the ship. Girl, I get it–I wouldn’t sleep for weeks either. (That’s why we have a dog, and a security system!)
Lo meets the woman in cabin 10 with the most awkward exchange of,
“Sorry, I know this sounds really weird, but I wondered if I could borrow some mascara?”
Lo gets some mascara from her new pal and remains determined to not let her previous experience at home deter her from kicking some major tail and making this opportunity work for her. Then we read this…
… there was a splash.
Not a small splash.
No, this was a big splash.
The kind of splash made by a body hitting water.
Mind you, prior to this observation Lo had been out drinking on the ship, and combined with her lack of sleep and anxiety we realize she may not be the most reliable narrator.
Either way, she looks outside and sees blood stains on the glass of cabin 10. She looks down and sees the deep blue sea surrounding what she decides looks a hell of a lot like a woman. She cries for help, and not a soul responds. When she finally gets some help, cabin 10 is empty, the blood is gone, and every.single.passenger. is checked and accounted for.
It seems like every time that Lo gets closer to uncovering another piece of evidence, it vanishes from her just as quickly. Now she is determined that there is a murderer on the ship–and she’s dead set on figuring out exactly who it is.
The setting adds a lot to the story. It almost read and felt like I was reading a versions of Clue. The ship is small, it’s path set in the frigid North Sea waters. The entire atmosphere that is painted in the novel feels like something absolutely self contained and denied access to the outside world. There is horrible internet service, so outside communications are spotty at best. Add the suspense of having a possible killer on the ship with the otherwise unassuming passengers and you’ve really captured a neat story.
I will vouch that Ruth Ware did a really spectacular job of making me able to trust absolutely nobody in the entire story. Every passenger seemed shady or driven by secret motives. I logistically could not figure out an angle that they were working from. It was bizarre. In the end absolutely none of my theories were right. None of them. I love when I am wrong about a suspenseful ending, it makes it so exciting to finish the story on the last page!