Book Review Books

Book Review: One by One by Ruth Ware

“One by One” is the perfect winter read delivered by one of my favorite authors. I read it in a single weekend. I couldn’t put it down, not that I wanted to since I was in quarantine that weekend.

The executives of a tech company are meeting up at a remote French chalet to do some skiing and talk about a buyout that would deliver many of them millions of dollars. The two people running the Chalet, a chef and a caretaker, are immediately annoyed by these tech folk who don’t seem to listen to them or to each other.

Each of the executive’s personality comes out when they try to go skiing, from the arrogant Topher to the quiet and insecure Liz. The author points the finger at each of these people, especially when they start bickering with each other.

An avalanche traps them up on the mountain. As the title suggests, one by one they start to die. Poison from drug overdose. Smothered with a pillow. You know, the usual things that people kill with when you are isolated on a mountain top with not heat or electricity.

If you are paying attention, you can tell early on who the killer is. I won’t ruin it for you here, but I was not surprised when the big reveal happens. I love Ware’s writing, but this one, while good, isn’t her best work. “The Death of Mrs. Westaway” and “The Turn of the Key” are really where her strengths lie – in gothic settings populated by interesting characters. “One by One” only has one likable character, and Ware even points the finger at her at one point.

While I couldn’t put this down, I also was left feeling like Ware has better stories in her. I’ll wait patiently for them. If you are looking for a book to entertain you during your pandemic lockdown, then this one will certainly do that. A good winter read, but not a great one.

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