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Thursday, September 24, 2020

My Least Favorite Ware Novel Still Engrossing and Entertaining

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Erin and Danny are used to being "the help" at the private ski chalet they operate in the French Alps.  One pampered group of vacationers is pretty much like every other one with their flashy wealth, entitled attitudes, and ludicrous requests.  The duo notices tension among their newest guests—ten shareholders in a wildly successful social media start-up—almost immediately, but they brush it off as more petty squabbles between the rich and the privileged.  They've seen it all before.  Then a guest goes missing after an outing on the slopes.  The suspicious disappearance casts a disturbing pall over the group, making their inherent, unnerving distrust of each other seem suddenly more sinister than snippy. 

While guests launch a search party for their missing associate, the weather worsens by alarming degrees.  An avalanche is building outside the chalet while, inside, guest after guest is turning up dead.  With dawning horror, Erin and Danny realize that they're trapped in an isolated dwelling, cut off from any hope of rescue, with a cunning killer who wants everyone dead ...

As the title suggests, Ruth Ware's newest locked-room mystery, One By One, pays homage to Agatha Christie's most famous novel.  It's not nearly as clever, though, and the guilty party(ies) in Ware's story is/are fairly obvious from the get-go.  Still, Ware is famous for her edge-of-your-seat thrillers and her latest is no exception.  The plot of One By One drags more than it should and it isn't nearly as twisty as those in the author's other stories, but all in all, it's still pretty darn riveting.  Even though I could see where the tale was going, I still found it impossible to look away.  As with every other Ware book (I've read them all), I ended up devouring this one fast and furious and far into the night, desperate to know what was going to happen next.  Because it's a bit clumsy, a lot depressing, and features characters who aren't exactly likable charmers, One By One is probably my least favorite of Ware's novels.  It did keep me engrossed and entertained, though, so I give it kudos for that.  My enthusiasm for Ware isn't diminished either.  I'm still looking forward to reading whatever she writes next.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other Ruth Ware novels as well as those by Gilly Macmillan, Paula Hawkins, Lucy Foley, and Mindy Mejia)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, blood/gore, disturbing subject matter, mild innuendo/sexual content, scenes of peril, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of One By One from the generous folks at Gallery Books via those at Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!


  1. Sorry you didn't love this one as much as her others. Her books have been hit and miss for me. I haven't read this one yet; but it is on my list. :)

    1. Overall, I really like Ware. I know other thriller readers have not been as impressed, but her books generally keep me guessing and on the edge of my seat - my two favorite things when it comes to this genre.

  2. Based on your description, this sounds very much like The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. I enjoyed that one but I don't want to read that kind of novel over and over. I haven't read anything by Ruth Ware yet.

    1. Really? I haven't read THE HUNTING PARTY yet. I didn't love THE GUEST LIST, though, so I'm not chomping at the bit to read another book by Foley. I'll read THE HUNTING PARTY eventually, I'm sure. Hopefully, I'll like it better than THE GUEST LIST.

  3. So timely that you posted this review today - I just started reading this book last night! I love all of Ruth Ware's books. Very moody and spine-tingling. I happened to catch a FB live with her promoting the book about a week ago and she is a very likable and charming person, and fun to listen to. Since I love Agatha Christie, too, it will be interesting to see what my opinion is. :-)

  4. Definitely agree with your thoughts here. Although I think The Lying Game might be my least favorite. And, yes, I'll keep reading her books.

    1. I like the setup of ONE BY ONE better than that of THE LYING GAME, but the latter kept me guessing more.

  5. I've been seeing that people don't like this one as much as her others. I've read 2 now and enjoyed them so far.

    1. I've noticed that, too. I think it's because ONE BY ONE isn't as twisty. You kind of know what's going to happen right from the start. It's still a suspenseful book, but it's not really twisty, if that makes sense.

  6. I've still only read that one Ware short story - Snowflakes - but intend to read more at some point. Thanks for the heads-up on this one not quite being the equal of her others...that will help me choose one.

    1. I think SNOWFLAKES is the only Ware story I haven't read. I need to get on that! And, yes, it's not my favorite of hers. Personally, I'd start with my favorite - THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY.

  7. I love her books, but have read mixed reviews of this one. I am looking forward to it, but won't go in with huge expectations so I won't be disappointed.


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