31 Days of Spooky Reads: A modern “And then there were none:” Ruth Ware’s “One by One”

Unfortunately, the only depth in the story was the deep, deep, snow that blanketed the lodge.

READ IF YOU…

  • Want a mystery/thriller
  • Like Agatha Christie retellings
  • Are in the mood for a book about being snowed in at a ski resort

TitleOne by One | Author: Ruth Ware  Rating: 3/5

Ruth Ware has fast become one of my favorite thriller authors. Something about her touch keeps you guessing, and keeps you wanting more.

One by One started off that way, but slowly slipped into a mediocre story. I half-guessed who the killer was, though not the why, and I wasn’t surprised to learn the truth.

What was most disappointing were the characters: typical, stereotypical, and cliched, which is unlike Ware’s other books.

Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?

The book began promising with the skiers at a fancy lodge, with two lodge employees to tend to their every need. The lodge is situated on an expert slope, with one side being a sheer drop into a canyon. This surprised me: wouldn’t they have fences or warning signs or something to make sure the slope is safe? That was a “red flag” for me and one that didn’t make sense – Ware should have found a better way to use this sheer cliffside and provide a better reason for its lack of safety features.

When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

As you can guess, the skiers die, one by one, much like Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The story becomes a countdown to see who will last, and how. And though that part of the story delivered, I was still disappointed. I expected far more…nuance…or even drama and depth. Unfortunately, the only depth in the story was the deep, deep, snow that blanketed the lodge.

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