Title: One by One
Author: Ruth Ware
Tropes: Isolated Mystery, Whodunit, Snowed In
Edition/Pages: BOTM, 384 Pages
I received an ARC copy of this from Gallery Books via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review
The employees of a new social media app, Snoop, head to a remote mountain chalet for a company retreat. When an avalanche hits, everyone is trapped inside without power. With the hierarchy in shambles, everyone is on their own to ensure their survival. But one of them is a murderer…
➸ POV: 1st Person, Erin and Liz Owen’s POV
➸ Erin: Manager/Host of chalet, Scarred, Secret past, Frequent nightmares
➸ Liz Owens: Ex-employee (assistant) at Snoop, Consistently overlooked, “invisible”, 2% shareholder
➸ Content Warnings: Death, PTSD, Murder, Avalanche/Natural Disaster, Isolation/Entrapment, Night terrors
I’m pretty confident that this will go down as my biggest disappointment of the year.. This was just so predictable, overly detailed, and painfully drawn out.
I have a lot of things I want to touch on with this so we’re going to break this down point by point.
#1: The Characters
There was such an imbalance between the number of characters and character development. If you’re going to write a story with a dozen characters, at a minimum I need to be able to tell them apart. I honestly couldn’t remember who anyone was or what their role was at Snoop. Because it didn’t matter. No one felt important. All of the characters felt like they were written for their specific purpose. Including the 2 POVs. Which leads me right into…
#2: The POVs
While all the other characters felt superfluous, Erin and Liz were just as underdeveloped – but in a way that made it immediately obvious of there roles. I knew from about chapter 2 what role everyone would land in, and it never for moment diverged from that path. And neither POV was especially captivating or brought another layer to the story.
#3: Excess backstory and details
While the character’s personalities were completely unexplored, I learned more about Erin’s background, skiing, and a fake app than I ever wanted to know. Why were so many pages spent in work meetings and learning to ski? What did it add? Because it certainly wasn’t misdirection…
#4: The “reveal”
Because the reveal was almost unnecessary due to it’s obviousness. With only 2 characters getting much page time or any semblance of development/backstory, the suspect list only ever contained 1 person. I will say the reveal scene at least (finally) had some of the intensity and tension I was looking for throughout the rest of this book, there is nothing I hate more than a drawn out “villain speech”..
#5: The ending…….
Where do I even begin with this ending?… I honestly hated it. It was like the end of a bad action movie. Ending this with a giant chase scene felt outright silly. There was absolutely no reason for this book to carry on for another 80 pages after the reveal. And that final little reveal about a new app brought literally nothing to the book. Nothing.
Overall this book was a massive bust. I was bored and frustrated for the majority of this read and the longer I sit with it, the more disappointed I am (hence why this was lowered to a 2 star from 2.5). I still plan to pick up more from this author because I’ve enjoyed their books in the past, but I hope they go back to the style of Death of Mrs Westaway and Turn of the Key – this whodunit style mystery just didn’t work for me.