ONE BY ONE BY RUTH WARE
ONE BY ONE BY RUTH WARE
Never has there been a more perfect time to read a “locked room mystery” than in 2020. This summer, while holed up in my house during lockdown, I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Ruth Ware’s chilling new mystery, ONE BY ONE—a book that puts a fresh, modern spin on the classic crime fiction “locked room” structure. The premise of Ware’s newest: a group of employees on a corporate retreat to a picturesque ski lodge in the French Alps find their getaway horribly disrupted when an avalanche cuts off their access to the outside world. In the claustrophobic confinement of the lodge, the group finds tempers rising, personalities clashing, and long-buried secrets threatening to reappear. Confined spaces and isolation, you say? If that doesn’t sound like 2020, I don’t know what does. Now, (thankfully!) my lockdown experience has been nowhere near as dramatic and sinister as the experiences of Ware’s ill-fated characters in ONE BY ONE, but if there ever were a moment when a “locked room mystery” rang especially true for me… this year is it. Ruth Ware’s newest suspense offering delivers a deliciously dark and dramatic tale of a group of individuals whose egos, secrets, and personal motivations clash in sinister and deadly ways when they find themselves isolated in close quarters with one another. Replete with red herrings a plenty, multiple narrators who will keep you on your toes, and an ever-intensifying sense of dread, ONE BY ONE is another outstanding crime novel from the writer who has rightfully been dubbed a modern-day Agatha Christie.
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain.
Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.
When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit.
As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.
About author :
Ruth Ware has established herself as one of the most consistently inventive and innovative suspense writers at work today. Her novels, which frequently feature plots that feel directly inspired by the original Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, somehow manage to toe that fine line between never writing the same book twice and always delivering the same immersive, just-one-more-page reading experience that her legion of fans has come to expect. From her debut novel IN A DARK, DARK WOOD to 2019’s outstanding THE TURN OF THE KEY, Ware has reinvented herself with each new thriller, giving us Gothic suspense, murder on the high seas, mysterious inheritances, and much more. Now, she comes home to the locked room mystery, the crime writing trope for which Christie herself is best known. Though no locked room mystery will ever, in my opinion, top Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, Ware’s ONE BY ONE is an outstanding addition to the tradition of locked room mystery writing. ONE BY ONE is a modernized take on the lock room mystery, one that balances cutting-edge technology with old-fashioned suspicion and intrigue to superb effect.
A great locked room mystery revolves around a key set of ingredients: a fixed location, a fixed set of characters, and, of course, a murder… or maybe multiple murders. In ONE BY ONE, Ruth Ware delivers all the requisite locked room mystery ingredients with her own brilliant flair. ONE BY ONE takes readers to the stunning French Alps, following the employees of start-up company Snoop, who are on their way to a luxurious corporate retreat at a ski chalet in the mountains. What could possibly go wrong? A lot, as it turns out—and readers will be hooked following this group’s misfortune. Immediately upon arrival at the chalet, it becomes clear that not everything is as it seems, and some members of the group might have their own agenda on this trip. What begins with required team-building activities and less-than-inspiring corporate presentations takes a turn for the sinister when members of the group reveal plans that would impact the future of the entire company. But things can get worse, and they will in due time. When an avalanche comes crashing down the mountain, the Snoop employees find themselves suddenly cut off from the rest of the world, snowed inside the chalet… and one of their own has gone missing, apparently lost in the avalanche after their afternoon ski outing. As tensions mount and suspicions grow, existing fault-lines in the group grow deeper. And when another member of the group is found dead, the horrible truth quickly becomes clear: one among them is a murderer, and no one is safe. ONE BY ONE is a classic locked room plot brought up-to-date for the modern reader. A stunning, immersive setting gives ONE BY ONE appeal for the armchair traveler, while a clever, ever-shifting plot will entertain amateur sleuths—and any reader looking to be swept up in a chilling mystery this fall.
One of my favorite qualities of Ruth Ware’s writing is her ability to take a premise that is grounded in classic crime fiction (in this case, the “locked room mystery” structure) and modernize it in a way that never feels contrived or forced. She has done exactly this in ONE BY ONE. Ware’s newest mystery novel seamlessly blends past and present by pitting the employees of a very modern start-up company against the classic crime fiction dilemma: a group of people are trapped in a house (or, in this case, a ski lodge) with a killer in their midst. The fictional company central to this story, Snoop, is a brilliant addition to this book’s mystery. (The name alone gave me a little bit of a shiver!) Snoop is a (fictional) app that allows its users to “Snoop” (aka listen in on) what others are listening to on their Spotify accounts. For example, if you’re a big fan of a particularly celebrity, using Snoop you could listen to exactly what that celebrity is listening to on their Spotify whenever you tune in to their account. Something about this idea of spying on others, even if just spying on their music choices, creeped me out—and even though the premise for this app seems innocuous enough at first, it quickly becomes clear that the Snoop team has bigger dreams for their technology than simply tracking people’s music taste. Snoop is a small company, and readers will become intimately acquainted with its employees—and with their secrets—over the course of this story, both from the inside and from the perspective of an outside observer. ONE BY ONE employs alternating narrators to excellent use here: readers will follow the alternating perspectives of a Snoop employee and a woman who works at the ski chalet where the group is staying, and in the process, they will get a 360-degree view of the goings on at the chalet. Both of these women are instantly intriguing, and both of them have much to hide… as does every single character readers encounter in this book.. Ruth Ware brilliantly casts suspicion on her characters from page one to the story’s gripping conclusion, and her book’s alternating narrators and their ever-shifting perspectives will keep readers on their toes.
ONE BY ONE is another excellent mystery from a writer who, year after year, thrills her readers with simply outstanding crime novels. Though Ware’s 2019 release THE TURN OF THE KEY remains my favorite book of hers, ONE BY ONE is a superb mystery that will surely be one of my favorite reads of 2020. With a stunning, immersive setting and enough claustrophobia and suspicion to keep you questioning everything from the book’s first page to its very last, ONE BY ONE will make for an excellent addition to your fall and winter reading list. ruth ware direct dowload