Review by Lauryn Angel
Ruth Ware has often been favorably compared with Agatha Christie, and this comparison is particularly apt for Ware’s latest novel, One By One. As I read this novel, Christie’s And Then There Were None came to mind several times.
One By One is set in a remote chalet in the French Alps, where a group of hip young tech executives are on a working holiday. Topher and Eva are the feuding co-founders of Snoop, the hot app that allows people to, well, snoop on other users’ Spotify activity. They’ve brought their PA’s and the other shareholders to discuss the future of the company. The chalet has a minimal staff – Erin, the concierge, and Danny, the chef.
Tensions quickly arise as the Snoop party quickly ally themselves with either Topher or Eva on the matter of the company buyout. The only holdout is Liz, who seems to be an outlier in the group. When one of the party goes missing and the rest are trapped in the chalet by an avalanche, it quickly becomes clear that someone in the group is a murderer who is picking off the rest of the party. . . one by one.
The novel is a bit of a slow starter, with the narrative duties split between Erin and Liz, both of whom have secrets to share, making it hard to decide whether they are reliable narrators. Honestly, there were a couple of instances in the beginning where I had to flip to the beginning of the chapter, because I forgot whose POV I was reading.
Once the first character went missing, however, the book’s pace picked up, and I found myself more interested in figuring out whodunnit. And while I figured it out fairly quickly, I still enjoyed the thickening of the plot and the cat-and-mouse of the denouement. This is definitely not my favorite of Ware’s novels – that would probably be In A Dark, Dark Wood or The Turn of the Key – but I still enjoyed it a great deal. And in a time of pandemic, when I’ve been binging on thrillers, this book was exactly the escape I needed.
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