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Library Journal Review
Traumatized travel journalist Lo Blacklock hopes to settle her nerves and cure her insomnia after a frightening home invasion with an exciting job assignment on board a small luxury cruise ship in the North Atlantic. Her paranoia is only increased, however, when she is certain she hears someone being thrown overboard from the cabin next door in the middle of the night. When her credibility is questioned after all of the passengers are accounted for, Lo digs further into the mystery and finds her life in danger. Imogen Church effectively captures the mood and uncertainty of the central character. -VERDICT Ware's (In a Dark, Dark Wood) sophomore novel twists the classic locked-room mystery in a satisfying thriller that builds to a suspenseful climax. ["A gripping maritime psychological thriller that will keep readers spellbound": LJ 6/15/16 starred review of the Scout: Gallery hc.]-Phillip -Oliver, formerly with Univ. of North Alabama, Florence © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
In Ware's underwhelming sophomore mystery (after 2015's In a Dark, Dark Wood), Laura "Lo" Blacklock thinks stepping in for her pregnant boss for a week-long jaunt on the new miniature cruise ship Aurora will give her a leg up at Velocity, the magazine where she's toiled for years. A break-in at her London flat days before her departure does little more than set up Lo as an easily startled protagonist. Everything on the Aurora is sparkly and decadent, from the chandeliers to the wealthy guests, most of whom are either fellow travel writers or investors brought on by owner Lord Richard Bullmer, but Lo is distracted from the scenery-the ship is headed for a tour of the Norwegian fjords-by her certainty that she heard the unmistakable sound of a body hitting the water from the adjacent cabin. No one, unsurprisingly, believes her, or buys her story of a mysterious woman she saw lurking on the ship hours earlier. Those expecting a Christie-style locked-room mystery at sea will be disappointed. Agent: Eve White, Eve White Literary (U.K.). (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Just before departing on a career-making assignment, travel writer Lo Blackstock endures a terrifying home invasion that brings the debilitating panic attacks she thought she'd conquered back in force. Still, Lo joins luxury-cruise magnate Lord Richard Bullmer on the maiden voyage of his new liner, along with a handful of jet-setters and travel-publishing elite. The first night onboard, Lo is awakened by a scream and a heavy splash from the next cabin and she alerts Security that the neighbor she met briefly that evening has been attacked. But everyone on board denies that the woman was ever there, and Lo is painted as a hysteric, especially after her anxiety medication is brought to light. With the memory of her own attack so near, Lo refuses to stop questioning the woman's disappearance, even in the face of career devastation and anonymous threats. The isolated setting and social alienation (also well played in Ware's debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood, 2015) combine with Lo's deteriorating mental state to generate a dark, desperate tension that will appeal to Ware's and Gillian Flynn's many fans. This is the perfect summer read for those seeking a shadowy counter to the sunshine.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2016 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Ware (In A Dark, Dark Wood, 2015) offers up a classic "paranoid woman" story with a modern twist in this tense, claustrophobic mystery. Days before departing on a luxury cruise for work, travel journalist Lo Blacklock is the victim of a break-in. Though unharmed, she ends up locked in her own room for several hours before escaping; as a result, she is unable to sleep. By the time she comes onboard the Aurora, Lo is suffering from severe sleep deprivation and possibly even PTSD, so when she hears a big splash from the cabin next door in the middle of the night, "the kind of splash made by a body hitting water," she can't prove to security that anything violent has actually occurred. To make matters stranger, there's no record of any passenger traveling in the cabin next to Lo's, even though Lo herself saw a woman there and even borrowed makeup from her before the first night's dinner party. Reeling from her own trauma, and faced with proof that she may have been hallucinating, Lo continues to investigate, aided by her ex-boyfriend Ben (who's also writing about the cruise), fighting desperately to find any shred of evidence that she may be right. The cast of characters, their conversations, and the luxurious but confining setting all echo classic Agatha Christie; in fact, the structure of the mystery itself is an old one: a woman insists murder has occurred, everyone else says she's crazy. But Lo is no wallflower; she is a strong and determined modern heroine who refuses to doubt the evidence of her own instincts. Despite this successful formula, and a whole lot of slowly unraveling tension, the end is somehow unsatisfying. And the newspaper and social media inserts add little depth. Too much drama at the end detracts from a finely wrought and subtle conundrum. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.