The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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I enjoyed the first psychological thriller from Ruth Ware, In a Dark, Dark Wood, but this novel was oh so much better – with a luxury cruise liner as the setting and an abundance of possibilities among the guests as to who could be the killer(s).

Laura (Lo) Blacklock, a travel journalist from London, has just landed a dream assignment – to spend a week on-board a private luxury cruise liner with a limited amount of cabins on its maiden voyage in the North Sea. On board are rich and famous people, including the owners Lord Richard & his wife, Anne. Also along for the trip are other travel journalists, including Lo’s ex, Ben. Determined to make her boss proud, no-nonsense Lo decides to enjoy her time getting to know the other passengers a bit, even though she would probably rather be a recluse in her cabin.

After being woken up in the middle of the night by a loud splashing sound, Lo thinks she sees a woman being thrown overboard from cabin 10, the cabin adjacent to hers. Cabin 10 was to be empty for this trip, but earlier in the week Lo borrowed a mascara from a young girl who appeared to be staying in Cabin 10. Now the girl is nowhere to be found, and none of the passengers or crew have seen her. Did Lo imagine it all? Is she being ultra paranoid after the recent break-in at her own flat? When she seeks help from security and then the ship’s owner, they turn it into her problem, claiming she drank too much and the medication she is on caused her to imagine the whole thing. But Lo knows she saw the girl, and she vividly remembers the blood smeared on the veranda window and the splash of a body into the frigid North Sea. So who was the girl in Cabin 10? Was she thrown overboard? By who? And now the killer knows Lo has seen something. If Lo can just keep it together until they reach a port, she thinks she’ll be able to find someone to believe her. But soon the stakes get higher and she is in way over her head. Will she be able to get away before the killer silences her for good?

This is a very fast-paced novel with an Agatha Christie-like plot. A strong-willed woman with a skeptical past thinks she has witnessed a murder, but no one believes her, causing her to become more and more paranoid of everyone around. Lo is on her own, unsure of who she can trust, while trying to solve a mystery and steer clear of a killer in very cramped quarters out on the open seas. I couldn’t put this book down, and it was suspenseful up through the final pages. Fans of psychological thrillers and authors like Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, and Mary Kubica will truly enjoy the works of Ruth Ware.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the advanced review copy.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

9781250121004_9c076.jpgBehind Closed Doors is set for a release date of August 9, 2016 by Macmillan. Previously released in the UK, it was an instant bestseller. After binge reading it all in one evening, I can certainly understand why!

Jack and Grace are the perfect newlywed couple. He’s a gorgeous, wealthy, high-profile attorney who stands up for battered women. She’s the picture of charm and elegance, always right beside her husband, eager to please his every request. Others envy their perfect, loving relationship. They often entertain in their state-of-the-art mansion with enchanting meals and wine. The neighbor ladies and other wives of the law firm would like to get to know Grace better, but find it almost impossible. She never leaves her husband’s side, and always cancels lunch dates with the girls.

If their marriage and life are so perfect, why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And why has she never made one of the lunch dates, other than one Jack escorted her to, of course. The other wives wonder how Grace can eat so much during the dinner parties, but remain so frail and thin. Do they really have the perfect marriage, or are they living in a perfect lie? Will someone look closer at their relationship before it’s too late?

This is one of the most terrifying books that I’ve ever read. I had goosebumps while reading the last page. Upon finishing, I found myself thinking back to when Grace met Jack and fell in love with him. It’s unsettling to see how easily one can be charmed into such terrifying situations. Read this and I promise you’ll love it. It blows Gone Girl out of the water, in terms of plot and thrill factor. I promise you’ve never read a psychological thriller like this one before. Major kudos to B.A. Paris for a brilliant debut!

The Assistants by Camille Perri

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The Assistants will be published by Penguin on May 3, 2016. Alright! Something other than the primary election to look forward to!

This book is hilarious and fun. Imagine being a 30 something, overqualified assistant to a media mogul with more money than you would ever even dream of having. What if there was an honest mistake, and a $19,000 reimbursement check came across your desk. It would completely pay off your student loans, so that you might be able to save a little money and move out of your tiny, dumpy apartment where rats run in the walls and the ceiling leaks.

Meet Tina Fontana. This is her story. Her boss, Robert Barlow, is the CEO of Titan Corporation, and he lives and breathes money. She makes a decision to use money to pay off her student loans, which snowballs into a major mess as more and more assistants find out about it and want in on the benefits. Her boss spends thousands of dollars on a pair of socks without even a thought. He would never catch on to their scheme…or would he? The stress of trying to keep the secret and to keep from getting caught is turning her into a worried mess. Meanwhile, Kevin, the hottest guy in her building, whom she is scared to speak to and ogles from afar, starts to take an interest in her. As they start dating, she finds it even harder to keep things from him. Especially since Kevin works in the legal department at Titan. The group of women that Tina, who used to consider herself an island, becomes close to are quite hilarious and unique. Probably my favorite is Emily, Tina’s new best friend and roommate. Emily’s wit and sarcasm are enough to drive Tina mad, but she comes to love her anyway. As the women become more involved in their robin-hood like scheme, they realize that something has to give at some point, and it’s only a matter of time before the cat is out of the bag. The ending is not what I expected, but it’s great!

I found myself laughing out loud at the way the must mundane scenes and objects are described in this novel. Just wait until you read how Emily describe the rain bubble on Tina’s apartment ceiling! Also, the description of Margie, another employee at Titan is priceless. And, not to be forgotten, how Tina describes Robert when he props expensive shoe up on her desk.

Well done, Camille. I can’t wait to see what other stories you come up with in the future.