Word to the wise: do not read this book on a cruise!
Quick summary: Laura Blacklock, a travel journalist, is provided the opportunity she’s waited her whole career for: an assignment that sends her on a press trip aboard a brand-new boutique luxury cruise ship. A few days before her departure, however, a burglar breaks into her apartment, spiking her anxiety levels and putting her in a negative headspace right when she needs to be at the top of her game. Couple that traumatizing experience with the scream and subsequent loud splash she hears late into her first night on the ship and Lo is completely on edge as she tries to unravel the chilling mystery unfolding before her eyes. All Lo knows is that a girl she met on the ship when she arrived is now nowhere to be found–but nobody else, passengers or crew, recalls (or admits to) seeing the girl.
My take: This had all the right ingredients to be a story I’d love: press trip, luxury cruise ship, travel journalism, murder mystery, Norway’s fjords as the backdrop…unfortunately, the story fell completely flat. There were so many loose ends that could’ve been tied together to add layers and intrigue to this story, but instead, they were left dangling. I think I’ve learned my lesson with Ruth Ware’s works; I felt equally disappointed after reading In a Dark, Dark Wood. Her protagonists are unlikeable, and not in a good way–just annoying and over-dramatic and unrealistic. Somewhere around the middle of this book I got bored and felt like the story would turn out to be cliché and predictable, yet was annoyed with the crawlingly slow pace. I stuck it out and tried hard to enjoy this book, but by the end it just got silly, ridiculous, and entirely unfulfilling. The writing is simplistic, like it was slapped together sloppily and published as is; generally, the narrative feels mishandled.