Book Review: ONE BY ONE by Ruth Ware

Title in purple on snowy mountains
Genre: Mystery
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Standalone


Book cover for ONE BY ONE: title in white on purple skies above a white snowy slope with a chalet

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?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


The December pick for my book club, this book is a twisty mystery in a snow-bound chalet as the head-honchos of a tech start-up begin dying one by one.

I really enjoyed this book – gobbled it down between lectures. I don’t usually read adult thrillers (too nervous that they’ll be too dark and feature graphic assault), but I do read a lot of YA, so ONE BY ONE is my first foray into adult – and it was a good choice.

The lock-in feel (knowing the murderer was there) made the tension ratchet up as the bodies piled up. However, there is an added, very subtle tension increaser from the dropping temperatures and lowering supplies. Phones lose charge (and signal is rough anyway), and then there’s no heating and it’s sub-zero out there. It added another pressure to them needing to get rescued as they were going to freeze to death otherwise.

I didn’t guess who the murderer was. I didn’t actually manage to guess at all, as I just could not work it out because the who the murderer was felt like a really clever narrative trick. Maybe I should have got it (maybe it wasn’t a good trick for those used to the genre) but I didn’t so the build up to the reveal was great as there was evidence that I was trying to fit to other characters, trying to work out how it might point to one of them, never suspecting the real murderer.

When the reveal came, therefore, it was a real surprise (in a good way.) It was so chilling watching the realisation play out (and experience it myself.) It also flipped my perspective on some earlier scene. Unlike what I have in my mind as the “traditional mystery set up,” there was a lot that came after the reveal. The reveal serves as a catapult into a tense climax that used the surroundings to great effect.

(I really really want to talk more about the mystery, but that would give way too much away, so I guess it’s good I get to talk about it in a book club!)

In all, it was a great introduction to adult mysteries!

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