“Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cosy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers, and you can’t trust any of them?”
Published in 2020, One By One by Ruth Ware follows a trendy London-based tech startup on a weeklong trip to a rustic chalet in the snowy French Alps. But what starts out as a corporate retreat like any other, tensions begin to simmer and loyalties are tested when one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit. As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further… one by one.
One By One is a riveting murder mystery, full of tension that races towards an energetic conclusion.
There’s a lot about this book that feels familiar. I’ve certainly read similar, and of course that includes the classic Agatha Christie whodunnits. But I won’t hold that against Ware as many of the books that this reminds me of have come afterwards.
But I like what Ware does with the story to make it her own. She captures the atmosphere brilliantly, perfectly encapsulating the isolated tension and freezing-cold temperatures. The characters are well developed, the twists are surprising, and the tension builds steadily.
Had this been my first murder mystery set in the snow or locked-in thriller starring a conflicting group of people, I probably would have loved it a lot more. But it was the perfect book for my mood – a light thriller with plenty of exciting thrills – and I can’t wait to read more by this author (all of which, I have already hoarded on my kindle).