One By One by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware’s latest thriller takes us to a familiar premise… One that I have called a country manor mystery in the past. Put a bunch of interesting characters in a creepy or isolated setting and let their past and present conflicts work themselves out… I’ve now read four of her novels, and quite frankly, they are perfect to read between my big clunky SFF books. Here’s a rundown:

  • The Woman in Cabin 12: A travel journalist is tasked with writing about a brand new luxury cruise ship. Things go wrong when she thinks she see a mysterious woman fall overboard.
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway: A young woman finds herself the recipient of an inheritance letter. Down on her luck, Hal decides to travel to the country house and gets herself involved in a treacherous situation.
  • The Turn of the Key: A nanny takes a job at an isolated house looking after several interesting kids and a tech-filled house. All that can go wrong does… it’s creepy and spooky and out-of-control!

Now we come to One By One… The senior leadership of a tech company go on a skiing retreat/ work vacation in the French Alps. Ware uses two points of view to give the reader the play-by-play. Erin is a host in the chalet who is tasked with making the guest as comfortable as possible. She is the outsider who starts to see the tiny cracks split open as part of the group wants to sell the company and the other faction see it as time to expand. Liz has not been a part of the day-to-day business of the company for a long time, but is one the retreat because she is a shareholder. She is now somewhat of an outsider herself and is pulled is either direction because she has the power of money.

The app is called Snooper and kudos to Ware for coming up with this realistic piece of fiction. I could totally see this platform taking off on peoples’ phones. The ability to follow a celeb or an interesting discoverer of new music as they access their playlists in realtime would be an addicting habit. And things hum along with minimal tension for a few pages and then the drinking starts and people start to crowd in corners and bedrooms for one become bedrooms for two… Then the snow starts to fall and visibility on the slopes drops to a minimum. Avalanche. Disappearances. Murder?

Another solid Agatha Christie- esque work by Ware. I flew through the pages of this one. Every secret that came out ramps up the tension and makes each remaining character look a little more guilty. It was a good book that I definitely see Ware fans gobbling up. You may want to save it for a weekend away, a cup of cocoa, and a cold draft coming through your window.

4 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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