Ruth Ware’s One by One

Let me start by saying that I really enjoy Ruth Ware’s writing. I find she is able to keep me guessing until she decides she wants to let me in on the twist. So when a friend of mine said there was a new Ruth Ware book out, I had to have it.

Y’all. I blasted through this 369 page book in less than 3 days. I’m a busy lady, so keeping me engaged that fully is truly a feat.

One by One is inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. It’s a murder mystery driven by a killer that’s in the house.

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When a Stranger Calls, anyone?

The Good

There are two narrators in this book: Erin and Liz. The author does a great job of using multiple narrators to drive the story forward rather than letting them hinder it. Related to this, the author created distinct characters outside the narrators. I’m someone that really needs to see the characters and setting. When I’m reading, it’s like I’m watching a movie in my head. She totally nailed it there.

The twist really upped the ante, and the author used this reveal to create really intense tension. My heart was pounding. I absolutely could not put this book down once the twist was revealed. Sorry, pup, our walk has been postponed! Just one more chapter….

The Bad

I felt the two narrators had a very similar voice despite being two different people. This could have been intentional on the part of the author, as if to say they’re not that different after all. For me though, I’d have liked to see more distinction in their thought patterns and not just in their histories.

I also think if you’re a seasoned mystery reader, the twist might have jumped out at you from the start. Though I didn’t guess it, looking back, all the signs were there. (If I’m honest, I’m kind of stretching to put this in the “bad” section. Isn’t it a quality of a good mystery to have everything line up at the end?)

The Verdict

I’ll actually give this one a 5/5. I might be biased – Ruth Ware fan here – but this is one I’ll definitely pick up again. It has a nice cozy mystery vibe, and I’ve recommended it to friends of mine looking for that.


I’d poured everything into nothing, so
it was no wonder when I couldn’t recognize

my own image in the frost. I shrouded
myself in heavy black linen and hoped

passersby wouldn’t hear the echo of my hollow
breathing. The wind still bit at my fingertips.


Hush, I Might Kiss You

breathing the words

She thought the winter would
keep her warm, that the biting

and bitching wind would be but
hushed kisses on her neck,

and the idiosyncratic flakes of
frost would be her shroud.

Her eyes spattered the bleak
panorama with green and gold

reflections of autumn nights on
tempestuous swells and breakers,

becoming the stars hovering above
crookedly bleeding chest organs.

Soft lavender oblivion has kept her
artfully sedated beneath the

steely clouds of Yuletide. Held
underwater, she sees nothing but

nothing, yet her tongue speaks
of the sapphire sun on the horizon.

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Hobbits are the Worst Heroes on Record

breathing the words

The sexual tension between Samwise Gamgee
and Frodo Baggins makes me want to fold up
like a partially done origami crane
that has been crumpled up and discarded
like so much bygone garbage.

Stop with the anime eyes of adoration and the
Samwise the Brave
and the I couldn’t have done it without you!
This isn’t a Warner Bros movie where
a closed-mouth kiss between
an awkward ginger and Dan Rad
can slide by with its PG-13 rating,
but is somehow more uncomfortable than
every eternal second
between Leonidas and his queen when your parents
are next to you and throwing altogether too penetrating
glances in your direction,
scalding into your skin their knowledge of
your escapades last night.

In case you hadn’t noticed, my dear hobbits,
you are heading into Mordor
to destroy a ring before it destroys you,
and before Gollum’s sticky fingers find themselves
threading around your…

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Your city is 2,192 miles from mine, so why
do I feel you trying to crawl into bed with us, clawing the
sheets away from my naked body, pushing yourself closer
to him, wrapping your arms around his chest possessively,
as if he were yours to begin with.

Desperation clings to your skin like yesterday’s perfume,
coating the oxygen around us with toxins, permeating everything
like so much smoke from a fire you lit yourself. And I
wonder if my name tastes as bitter in your mouth as
yours does in mine.

I hope it does.

I hope you choke on it.