Book Review: One by One by Ruth Ware

One by One
by
Ruth Ware

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

After reading a few long books, I was in the mood for a good thriller and One by One fit the bill. I’d read Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 a few years ago and thought it was a very readable suspenseful story. There’s something about the premise of a group of people stuck and alone in a dangerous situation that I can’t resist.

One by One takes place in the French Alps where ten members of a tech startup gather for a retreat. The company, Snoop, run by extremely hip twenty-somethings, owns latest music app that enables subscribers to listen in on the music other subscribers are playing, real time. The key players are Snoop’s co-founders, Topher and Eva. They come from money and privilege, as do Elliot, their programmer and Rik, their accountant, who both went to boarding school in England with Topher. These four own nearly all the company’s shares. The last two percent belong to Liz, a former employee who has been invited to the retreat. Liz is the opposite of cool. Shabby, frumpy and awkward, she didn’t fit in at Snoop and left the company. Added to the mix are Carl the lawyer, Miranda from PR and Tiger from marketing. As personal assistants, Inigo and Ani try to keep Topher and Eva happy.

Right away, tension is thick because, although the company is hot, it’s out of cash. Eva surprises the group with news of a lucrative buyout offer, but Topher is furious because he doesn’t want to lose control of the company. An early vote shows a 50-50 split between the four shareholders. Liz will need to make the deciding vote.

Warnings of heavy snow and avalanches prompt the group to get in one good day of skiing before they’re snowbound. But Eva, an expert skier, doesn’t return and then, as predicted, the avalanche hits, crushing the area and knocking out power. Then, one by one, members of the group turn up dead. Readers will need to sort out the details of Eva’s disappearance and of the other deaths. Snoop’s remaining members, plus the chalet’s employees, Danny and Erin, must all rely each other, but trust no one. Very loosely based on And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, Ware provides all the backstories that help you figure out just enough to take you to the finish, which of course, true to a thriller, is full of dangerous action.

I find that with thrillers, you need to be a little forgiving with loose details and accept them as a way of keeping the story flowing. I liked the high-tech aspect of the story and how Ware included details of what music the Snoopers listened to. I recommend One by One to readers who like suspense and intrigue.

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