Book Review: One by One by Ruth Ware

One by One by Ruth Ware is a gripping and atmospheric locked room mystery that follows a group of colleagues on a corporate retreat in a luxurious ski chalet in the French Alps. The group includes the co-founders of Snoop, a music app that has recently been acquired by a larger company, as well as a team of employees and a few outside consultants. As they settle in for a week of team building and strategizing, tensions begin to simmer beneath the surface, and when a devastating avalanche cuts off all communication with the outside world, things quickly spiral out of control.

The story is narrated from the perspectives of two characters: Erin, a former employee of Snoop who is now working as a chalet girl at the retreat, and Liz, one of the co-founders of Snoop. The dual narrative works well to build tension and suspense, as the reader is privy to both Erin’s observations and Liz’s increasingly desperate attempts to keep the group from unraveling.

The mystery at the heart of the story revolves around a series of deaths that occur over the course of the retreat. The first victim is an outside consultant who is found dead in the snow after the avalanche, and as the group begins to suspect foul play, more deaths follow in quick succession. Each of the deaths is presented as a closed-room mystery, with no apparent means of escape or outside intervention, and the tension and sense of claustrophobia are heightened by the fact that the group is trapped in the chalet with a killer.

One of the things that I appreciated most about One by One was the way in which Ware uses the setting to create a sense of atmosphere and tension. The chalet is isolated and remote, with no phone or internet access, and the characters are forced to rely on each other for survival. As the situation grows increasingly dire, the sense of claustrophobia and isolation becomes almost palpable, making the mystery all the more gripping.

Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the well-drawn and multi-dimensional characters. Each member of the group has their own secrets and motivations, and Ware does an excellent job of building suspense and suspicion by slowly revealing these hidden depths. Liz, in particular, is a fascinating character, with a complex backstory and a complicated relationship with her co-founder and former lover, Eva.

If there is one criticism to be made of One by One, it is that the resolution of the mystery may feel a bit rushed or contrived to some readers. While I found the ending satisfying overall, there were a few plot twists that felt a bit too convenient or predictable. Additionally, some readers may find the portrayal of the corporate world and the tech industry to be somewhat stereotypical or clichéd.

One by One is a gripping and suspenseful locked room mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end. The setting is atmospheric and immersive, the characters are well-drawn and complex, and the mystery is cleverly constructed and expertly executed. If you are a fan of the genre, or of Ruth Ware’s writing in general, then this is definitely a book worth checking out. You can get a copy of this thrilling locked-room mystery from Amazon here.


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