One By One by Ruth Ware

Today I wish a very happy publication day to Ruth Ware whose new thriller, One By One is published in hardback and ebook. I am very late to reading this author but loved The Death of Mrs Westaway and Turn of the Key, so have been really looking forward to reading it. My thanks to publisher Vintage for providing an advance copy of review and to Graeme Williams for inviting me to be part of the launch celebrations. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy

About the Book

Snow is falling in the exclusive alpine ski resort of Saint Antoine, as the shareholders and directors of Snoop, the hottest new music app, gather for a make or break corporate retreat to decide the future of the company. At stake is a billion-dollar dot com buyout that could make them all millionaires, or leave some of them out in the cold.

The clock is ticking on the offer, and with the group irrevocably split, tensions are running high. When an avalanche cuts the chalet off from help, and one board member goes missing in the snow, the group is forced to ask – would someone resort to murder, to get what they want?

My Thoughts

This is your locked in mystery with a twist. Less locked in, more snowed in. Although, in fairness, there is an element of the locked in murder mystery about it too. Two murders in fact. When the directors of Snoop take their entire team to a ski resort, little do they know the fate that is going to befall them. One of the team disappears whilst skiing off-piste, and the rest of the team become trapped as an avalanche isolates them from the rest of the resort. All is not well in amongst the team, but are things so bad that one of them might possibly resort to murder? Well that is the question posed to readers as we get drawn into Snoop’s world and into this new world imagined so skilfully by Ruth Ware.

If you have read any other the author’s other books then you will know she has a talent for creating mystery and tension in her reads and this one is no different. Yes we are faced with a very limited pool of suspects but it is very clear from the outset that a good few of the characters are hiding something and scruples are not necessarily high on the list when it comes to personality traits. Alongside the nine Snoopers is a former employee, and trying to keep them safe in the resort, two chalet staff, but are any of them really who they appear to be. From the company founders, Eva and Topher to Erin, one of the chalet staff, it was tough to get a real handle on them and what they might be keeping from everyone else. Clearly whatever was going on, it was worth killing for, and for such an isolated place, the death toll is remarkably high.

What I liked about the story was the way in which the author has used the app, Snoop, to head each chapter, introducing each new point of view with an insight into their snoop status – how many subscribers etc – which gives a clear insight into the nature of the group we are with. The characters are all very millenial in styling, and, if I’m honest, more than a little irritating but worryingly authentic in their portrayal. I hope I never meet anyone like them. From the tech obsessed to the money driven, there is something instantly dislikeable about nearly all of them and yet I was fascinated by their predicament, by what might happen to them, and why. I found I was glued to the story, powering through in one evening, something which really hasn’t happened much this year at all.

I guessed the whodunnit fairly early on if I’m honest although there is plenty of doubt planted in the reader’s mind along the way. And the why when it is finally revealed is shocking and almost, almost, makes what happens forgivable. But not quite. The tension builds slowly, the agst at the beginning driven by the clear anxiety of one of the characters and the fractious relationship between them all. Whilst it took a while for anything of note to happen, and there was a certain inevitability about it when it finally did, I found that the story still flowed really well. The setting is perfect, feeling claustrophobic and heightening experience due to the overwhelming isolation and knowing that the killer was as trapped as the potential pool of victims. And then the ending, full of action and leading us to a very dramatic, and somewhat emotional, showdown.

If you love a Christie-eque mystery, full of suspense, chills (meteorological and literary) and where the setting is as key to the story as the motive and characters, then this is the story for you. for me it captured some or the real spirit and slow building tension I felt when i read my first Ruth Ware novel, The Death of Mrs Westaway, and I happily recommend it.

About the Author

Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10The Lying Game, The Death of Mrs Westaway and The Turn of the Key have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times. Her books have been optioned for TV and film and she is published in more than 40 languages. Ruth lives near Brighton with her family.

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