“One By One” by Ruth Ware is a twisted revisit to a classic Agatha Christie tale. Employees of cutting edge music app “Snoop” gather for company retreat and business convocation in a rustic ski vacation cabin. Readers know immediately that things will not end well, and in fact, the book starts with a report from the BBC News website news indicating an avalanche, four dead, and two hospitalized. As readers go back five days, questions are waiting to be answered. Who died? Was it murder?
Ware drops readers into a quagmire of double dealing, corporate misdeeds, personal grievances, and revenge. The narrative unfolds in first person accounts from Liz, former Snoop employee, and Erin, management company employee and chalet host for the week. These two differing vantage points allow readers to view the same events from very different perspectives. Readers hear what Liz and Erin say to others, what others say to them, and what they say to themselves. They talk to themselves a lot. This happy little retreat is happy no more as information from the past comes to light, and the future of the company looks increasingly dire. And then there is the snow.
“One By One” is an avalanche of disloyalty, riddles, retribution, and snow. And, like a snowball rolling down hill, it quickly gains momentum until a final, horrible crash. I received a review copy of “One By One” from Ruth Ware, Gallery, and Scout Press. It kept me turning the pages until the shocking, twisted end. It was deceptive, compelling, and a true tribute to the master of surprise, Agatha Christie.