Review of One By One, by Ruth Ware, read by Imogen Church

One By One

by Ruth Ware
read by Imogen Church

Simon & Schuster Audio, 2020. 13 hours and 8 minutes.
Review written November 13, 2021, based on a library eaudiobook.
Starred Review

One By One is a mystery and thriller designed with nods to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The setting is a ski chalet in the Alps. Soon after a ski outing where a guest goes missing, there’s an avalanche that cuts them off from civilization.

The guests this week are from Snoop, a U.K.-based app that lets you listen to the music other people are listening to. But Snoop’s in trouble financially, and they have to decide whether to take a buyout offer or try to turn things around with new technology. Tension is high because of that decision, and millions of dollars are at stake.

But the new technology is location-based and using it shows them the missing founder is in the bottom of a gorge. And may not have landed there by accident. When deaths follow that are definitely not accidental, we know that a killer is stuck in the chalet with them.

As is traditional, we start the book with ten people in the chalet — eight from Snoop, plus the two staff for the chalet, Erin the hostess and Danny the chef. We get alternating perspectives from Erin and from Liz, who was once a personal assistant at Snoop, and is now the smallest shareholder with two shares. But that means she’s the deciding vote for whether the company should take the buyout or not, which puts her under lots of unwanted pressure.

We get a window into the complicated relationships among the Snoop coworkers from Liz, who thought she’d left it behind long ago. Erin has an outsider’s perspective, but we get hints of some secrets of her own.

As time goes by, their phones have no connection, their power goes out, the temperature drops, the snow keeps falling, and the police fail to come. All while more deaths happen and tension builds.

I wasn’t surprised by Whodunit — I’ve read enough Agatha Christie mysteries to suspect this person — but I still thoroughly enjoyed the way it was unveiled. And yes, as is traditional with thrillers, figuring out the solution puts the one who figures it out in terrible danger.

I had to find things to do that would let me listen to this book to finish it as quickly as possible. Too much suspense to set it aside! Wonderful!

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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