Lo Blacklock is a travel journalist who is given the biggest assignment of her career to cover the maiden voyage of Aurora, a new super luxury ship. A few days before the cruise leaves her small apartment is broken into in the middle of the night, and she comes face to face with the bugler and is locked in her room for several hours. When she finally boards the ship see is still suffering from trauma and sleep deprivation.
Lo’s first impression is positive. The ship is like a first-class hotel, but in miniature. The guest cabins are plush, those on board are important media contacts, and the dinner parties are elegant. Getting ready for the welcome party she knocks on cabin 10, next door, and borrows some make up from the young women who comes to the door. Lo hasn’t eaten much since her own break-in and she drinks a lot at the party and stays up late.
That night in her room she hears “the kind of splash made by a body hitting water”. She looks down from the deck outside her room and thinks she sees a body sinking into the dark waters, and then looks to the deck space next door through some cracks in the divider and sees blood smeared on the glass. She calls security but when they go to the cabin 10 it is completely empty and there is no blood. Security listens and even help by checking everyone on board to see if they can find the young women Lo saw earlier in the cabin, but no one on board is missing.
Lo had confided details of her own break-in with Ben who is also on board, and whom she had been married to years ago. He shares the event, and that she had been drinking excessively, with security and that castes more doubt on her story. Security wonders if she was imagining everything but they try to help.
She continues, on her own to dig deeper, even searching below the guest decks. Things become more dangerous for her. She reaches a point where she can’t go back and may not make it out alive. The plot is filled with a constant feeling of danger and the reader will find themselves wondering what the next chapter will bring.
Copies of social media posts from back home are inserted after some of the later chapters but they only add more questions to what is really happening on the ship. The book might be best described as a “claustrophobic whodunit”.
"There’s a reason why we keep thoughts inside our heads for the most part—they’re not safe to be let out in public. “Other”
“Maybe that was closer to the truth--we weren't captor and captive, but two animals in different compartments of the same cage. Hers was just slightly larger.”
“We all have demons inside us, voices that whisper we’re no good, that if we don’t make this promotion or ace that exam we’ll reveal to the world exactly what kind of worthless sacks of skin and sinew we really are.”