2021 Reviews · contemporary fiction · crime · mystery · suspense · thriller

Book Review: One by One by Ruth Ware

Title: One by One

Author: Ruth Ware

Published: September 15th 2020

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 384

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 3.5 stars

Snow is falling in the exclusive alpine ski resort of Saint Antoine, as the shareholders and directors of Snoop, the hottest new music app, gather for a make or break corporate retreat to decide the future of the company. At stake is a billion-dollar dot com buyout that could make them all millionaires, or leave some of them out in the cold.

The clock is ticking on the offer, and with the group irrevocably split, tensions are running high. When an avalanche cuts the chalet off from help, and one board member goes missing in the snow, the group is forced to ask – would someone resort to murder, to get what they want?


I have to concur with the very fitting label awarded to Ruth Ware on the back cover of her new novel One by One. Hailed as ‘the queen of the modern-day murder mystery’ Ruth Ware is deserving of this title. I have read and enjoyed all of Ruth Ware’s books to date. I was eagerly awaiting the release of One by One. There is a definite emphasis on the modern side of things in this contemporary whodunnit mystery.

Situated in the heart of the French Alps, One by One takes the reader to the icy cold surrounds of Saint Antoine, a picturesque ski resort. A group of employees of Snoop, a music streaming service have descended on Saint Antoine to discuss the future direction of the company. This important company retreat includes the top level executives and shareholders of the company. Together, the Snoop enterprise must come to a consensus regarding a possible buyout of the company, but while some are in favour, some are not. A decision must be made on this retreat and the pressure is on. When the group starts to splinter, a series of unfortunate events occur. An avalanche approaches, which is quickly followed by a loss of basic utilities. The final straw for the Snoop company retreat is the unexplained loss of a colleague. Where is this board member and is there something sinister happening at Saint Antoine?

I have a very high opinion of Ruth Ware. I have read of all of her work and I always make a point of purchasing any new book she releases as soon as it hits bookstores. One by One was no exception to this rule, I raced out to buy this book as soon it was available. It did take me a little longer than I would have hoped to read One by One due to my very heavy review book schedule, but I’m glad I made a conscious effort to put this ahead of my review book commitments.

One by One is a book heavily drenched in a wintery and bitter cold atmosphere. Ruth Ware transports the reader with a sense of ease to her French Alps based locale. This is a location I felt fully immersed in from the get-go. Ware illuminates the remoteness of this locale, the biting cold weather, the unpredictable nature of the avalanches active in this region, along with the sheer beauty of this snow-covered backdrop. In terms of atmosphere, Ware has this down pat. I also like how Ware is willing and able to take her audience to an alternative setting base with each new mystery she produces. I couldn’t fault Ware in this area at all.

There are a number of players in this novel and I appreciated the opportunity to hear from the majority of the Snoop employee base as the book progresses. Multiple perspective narration helps to carefully guide this novel through a number of plot twists and deviations. The pace is set to a solid beat, which ensured that I stuck to One by One for the duration. I read One by One in two close sittings, which was very easy to do based on the succinct formatting of the novel.

In terms of the main storyline and the involvement of the music app business takeover that dominates the novel, I have to be honest and say this element of the story didn’t quite capture me. There was a strong technology and modern theme to One by One that didn’t quite sustain my full interest. Although I love Ruth Ware’s writing, there were elements of this particular story that didn’t quite spark my interest in the same sense that previous novels by this writer have managed to reel me right in. That aside, I would still recommend One by One to readers who value a good mystery, with very modern undertones.

One by One by Ruth Ware was published on 15th September 2020 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of One by One, Ruth Ware, visit here.

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