I knew cruises were a horror – Passenger 23 by Sebastian Fizek

Published by: Head of Zeus

Available on: Amazon Kindle and at all good book stores (some sources say PDay is 4.02.2021 others say 21.04.2021)

Read and reviewed by me on the approval of NETGALLEY

Sebastian Ftizek. Schriftsteller. 3.3.2017 in Berlin. © 2017 Gene Glover / Agentur Focus

I can’t believe I did not know of Fitzek before. I am so happy I did not know of him before. Well, I’ve heard of him, but Passenger 23 is the first book by Sebastian Fitzek I’ve ever read.
I am thankful that I did not know of him and his thrillers before because I haven’t had a sleepless night like last night when I could not put the book down until I read it. Now the images conjured by the author are still swimming in my head driving me crazy and sad.
I can’t believe I have not read any of Fitzek books before as they are unputdownable, so twisted they make tornado a child play and so cruel they make the worst of the monster into cuddly bunnies.
Passenger 23 is about humanity and limitless possibilities of how this humanity can go wrong. There are no stops, no obstacles, no brakes, no considerations when it comes to reaching one goals, be it money, sex or freedom. There is nothing sacred in this world. Nothing at all.
Cruise ships are little planets with their infrastructure and way of life. And as main character reminds us all, with no law enforcers. Passengers are at the mercy of the ship. Anything can happen. And everything does.
This book is a journey into the dark narrow hallway of hidden decks and ugly dirty channels of human souls. Well, they can call be humans only symbolically…
Main character Martin Schwartz has nothing to lose. Absolutely nothing. That’s why is is capable of anything and is not afraid of anyone. Yegor Kalinin, cruise line owner, has everything to lose and everything to gain. Captain of the ship is so disposable (like everyone on the ship) he is not even worth the mention. And women. Yes, women, rather mothers and daughters. It is all about them and more.
Fitzek weaves intricate web full of twists and turns, full of unexpected realisations and uncoverings. He creates characters and makes them into monsters. You never know who is in front of you. Author creates such a suspenseful puzzle where nobody can win and everyone can lose.
Passenger 23 is meant to warn you against cruises as much as it meant to hug your kid and tell him/her that you love them again and again…
Five stars and more…


Five years ago Martin Schwarz, a police psychologist, lost his wife and son. They were holidaying on a cruise ship when they simply vanished. A lackluster investigation was unable to shed any light on what happened—murder-suicide being the coroner’s verdict. It is a verdict that has haunted Martin ever since, blighting his life. But then he is contacted by an elderly woman, a writer, who claims to have information regarding their fate and wants him to come on board The Sultan of the Seas immediately. She explains that his wife and son are not the only mother and child pair to have disappeared. Only a few months ago another mother and daughter also vanished. She believes there may be a serial killer on board. But when the missing daughter reappears—carrying the teddy bear of Martin’s missing son—it becomes apparent that the truth could be much, much worse…


Sebastian Fitzek has been published in twenty-nine languages including Dutch, Italian, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Gree, Russian, Turkish, Polish, Bulgarian, Danish, and Japanese. He is a number one bestselling author in Germany, where he lives. This is his American debut. His latest thriller, The Package, is now available from Head of Zeus publishing.

I am well behind reading Sebastian Fitzek, but I will catch up one day…

This post was written ‘encouraged’ by the article in CrimeReads. And yes, I read this book in one night. I could not put it down until I read the very last word…

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