Ruth Ware | One by One

The Book:

One by One by Ruth Ware, 2020

The Characters: 

Snoop employees Topher, Eva, Elliot, Ani, Inigo, Liz, and many others; chalet employees Erin and Danny

The Plot: 

The employees of Snoop have come to a remote ski retreat in the French Alps for some corporate bonding. The founders have an ulterior motive, though–they disagree on whether to take a buyout offer, and need the shareholding employees to vote to break the tie. 

The group heads out to ski. When some members decide to turn back due to bad weather and others want to take one more run, the group is divided. When they meet up back at the chalet, they realize Eva wasn’t with either group. 

An avalanche traps the others at the chalet and prevents them from looking for Eva. As more Snoop employees disappear, fingers are pointed and tensions run high. 

Click here for book spoilers
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read One by One, I suggest you turn back now.

Elliot, the tech guy, is able to locate Eva’s phone signal at the bottom of a cliff and the group presumes her dead. Inigo disappears after trying to get the police on the phone. The group later finds Elliot dead in his room with his computer smashed. 

Ani claims she had seen Eva skiing down the mountain as she rode the lift back down. The owners of the chalet question her to try to get more information. The next morning the group discovers that Ani has been smothered in her bed. 

The remaining group splits up to ski for help–some to the town and some to the nearest hotel. Erin and Liz are both injured so they remain at the chalet. 

The Twist: 

Erin finds Elliot’s phone with the Snoop app open and realizes Liz did everything.  Liz had pretended to be a novice skier, but was actually an expert. She pretended to take the lift down to the bottom of the mountain when the weather got bad, but actually waited and pushed Eva. Liz was wearing a red jacket matching Eva’s under her own coat; this is who Ani saw skiing down. Ani was Liz’s alibi, so she killed her when Ani started to doubt seeing Eva. 

Erin escapes on skis down a dangerous route; Liz follows and crashes into a rock wall in front of Erin and smashes her skull in. 

The End: 

Topher finds out that Eva saw Liz kill an investor who assaulted her. Eva was holding it over Liz’s head to blackmail her into voting her way with the company buyout. It came out that Eva had blackmailed many of their investors and others.

The Review:

I absolutely loved the setting of the remote ski chalet. I just wish I read this book in the winter! The author did a beautiful job of describing the location, and as an avid skier myself, I could picture it perfectly. 

There were a lot of characters to keep straight. It was difficult to remember who had alliances with who and what everyone’s role was, so I spent a little time flipping back and forth. The author could have pared down the character list a little bit without taking away from the story. I can’t imagine how the author kept them all straight as she was writing!

I guessed who did it, which is always equal parts disappointing and ego-boosting. When reading a thriller, I simultaneously want to be tricked (that’s why I like a good thriller!) and want to outsmart the author and guess the ending. I just can’t be pleased, I know. 

Click here for book spoilers
I also loved the final chase scene down the mountain. The writing of this scene was very well done, and the reader can feel Erin’s fear. I kind of appreciated how Ruth Ware managed not to put her in a kill-or-be-killed situation, and that Liz got what was coming for her on her own.

There area handful of reviews out there that say this book was too similar to And Then There Were None. I enjoyed the similarities, and think that Ruth Ware did a very good job of making the theme her own. I don’t think it was too similar to be enjoyable. 

What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This was a Book of the Month pick last month. Haven’t checked out Book of the Month yet? Use my code for $10 off your first box. (I get a $10 credit too, but that means more reviews for me to share with you!)

If you liked this book, you might also like:

  • An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
one by one ruth ware

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