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“The Agatha Christie of our generation.” —David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Diabolically clever.” —Riley Sager, author of Final Girls

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain.

Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit.

As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.

Chapter 1: Liz LIZ
Snoop ID: ANON101

Listening to: James Blunt / You’re Beautiful

Snoopers: 0

Snoopscribers: 0

I keep my earbuds shoved into my ears on the minibus from Geneva Airport. I ignore Topher’s hopeful looks and Eva, glancing over her shoulder at me. It helps, somehow. It helps to shut out the voices in my head, their voices, pulling me this way and that, pummeling me with their loyalties and their arguments to and fro.

Instead, I let James Blunt drown them out, telling me I’m beautiful, over and over again. The irony of the statement makes me want to laugh, but I don’t. There’s something comforting in the lie.

It is 1:52 p.m. Outside the window the sky is iron gray, and the snowflakes swirl hypnotically past. It’s strange. Snow is so white on the ground, but when it’s falling, it looks gray against the sky. It might as well be ash.

We are starting to climb now. The snow gets thicker as we gain height, no longer melting into rain when it hits the window but sticking, sliding along the glass, the windscreen wipers swooshing it aside into rivulets of slush that run horizontally across the passenger window. I hope the bus has snow tires.

The driver changes gear; we are approaching yet another hairpin bend. As the bus swings around the narrow curve, the ground falls away, and I have a momentary feeling that we’re going to fall—a lurch of vertigo that makes my stomach heave and my head spin. I shut my eyes, blocking them all out, losing myself in the music.

And then the song stops.

And I am alone, with only one voice left in my head, and I can’t shut it out. It’s my own. And it’s whispering a question that I’ve been asking myself since the plane lifted off the runway at Gatwick.

Why did I come? Why?

But I know the answer.

I came because I couldn’t afford not to.
This reading group guide for One by One includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark, Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain.

Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers . . . and you can’t trust any of them?

An off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits; the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. Erin and Danny have a strong and supportive relationship from the beginning of the book. Before opening the chalet to guests, they have a tradition of swimming together. Why do you think this is important for them to have this time alone? Have you ever had a confidant that you can rely on like Erin did with Danny?

2. Erin and Liz are both used to being outsiders. Why do you think the author chose these two characters be the ones to tell this story? What do you think the experience would look like through Danny’s eyes? What about Eva’s or Topher’s perspectives?

3. Discuss the appeal of Snoop for users. Do you think you would use the app if it existed? What people would you follow?

4. The founders of Snoop disagree about whether or not to sell the company, with Liz as the deciding vote. If you were Liz, what would your decision be? Who of the founders do you find more trustworthy: Eva or Topher? Why?

5. Erin and Danny both begin One by One as the chalet’s staff. However, once the avalanche traps them along with Snoop’s staff, they are not quite sure how to proceed. Why do you think Erin and Danny continue to act as the chalet’s caretakers? Discuss moments where Erin and Danny come into conflict with Snoop employees.

6. After the avalanche hits, Snoop employees also ignore the corporate food chain, and instead focus on survival. How did you feel about the alliances that people made? Who begins the book with the most power? How does that change throughout the book?

7. Many people almost uncover the murderer before they are also killed. Discuss how each character found out who the murderer was. How did the killer find out that they knew?

8. It quickly becomes clear that Snoop’s corporate culture is toxic. How do you think Liz fit into this culture when she worked there? How do you think she fit into Snoop after she left as a shareholder? Were you surprised that Eva and Topher each had sexual relationships with their assistants?

9. Though Erin begins the book as an outsider, she comes from a very similar background to Topher. Did this come as a surprise to you? Why do you think she chose to stay close to the mountains after such a traumatic accident?

10. Snoop can track the location of its users while they use the app. However, the users are not yet aware of this technology. What do you think the public’s reaction would have been? Discuss the ethical implications of tracking users without notifying them. Does the app helping to uncover the murderer change your opinion?

11. Liz had been taken advantage of often in her life, both in her own family and by her former colleagues at Snoop. How much did you agree with Liz's view of herself as a victim of circumstance?

12. Why do you think Topher felt it was important to message Erin after Snoop went under? What do you think of Erin’s reply? Did you find Topher to be a sympathetic character? Why or why not?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Snoop is an app that allows its users to anonymously listen to what music anyone is streaming in real time. In your book group invent at app that you wish existed. Give it a concept, a name, and even a logo.

2. Music plays a major role for the characters in One by One. Use the online playlist to enhance your reading experience. After reading the book, flip back to the character introductions with their song choices. Play the songs and have your book group guess which character it represents.

3. Author Ruth Ware’s novels often focus on characters that are trapped in one location, such as fancy smart homes (The Turn of the Key), spooky cabins (The Woman in Cabin 10), or in this case, picturesque chalets. Have you read any other thrillers that take place in one location? What do you think of this as a device for a thriller?
Author photograph © Gemma Day Photography

Ruth Ware worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language, and a press officer before settling down as a full-time writer. She now lives with her family in Sussex, on the south coast of England. She is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail (Toronto) bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10The Lying GameThe Death of Mrs. Westaway; and The Turn of the Key. Visit her at RuthWare.com or follow her on Twitter @RuthWareWriter.

PRAISE FOR ONE BY ONE

“[Ware] sets the bar higher in One By One by burying her principal players in an Alpine chalet beneath an avalanche. . . . Readers will recognize the obvious homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, but with enough ingenious twists to make this whodunit another triumph for Ware.”
—The New York Times Book Review

"Not only do Ware’s novels wink at Christie in a saucy way, but Ware herself is turning out to be as ingenious and indefatigable as the Queen of Crime." 
Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post

"A claustrophobic spine-tingler."
—People, "Best Books of Fall 2020"

“Ware manages to make a retreat in a chalet in the wide-open French Alps feel claustrophobic, nerve-wracking and deadly… The author’s choice of telling the story in dueling narratives – Liz, a former Snoop employee who was invited to join in the retreat; and Erin, one of the chalet’s two staff members – enhances the steadily escalating pace of the book.”
—USA Today

“Wickedly good… Ware plays fair, bamboozling us with red herrings while expertly pacing her plot.”
—The Seattle Times

“Especially timely, given that the terror of isolation is at its heart… This is And Then There Were None rendered for the twenty-first century.”
—Booklist (starred review)

“In Ruth We Trust…. Come for the Agatha Christie vibes, stay for the insane ending.”
—theSkimm

“A classic whodunit that solidifies Ware’s reputation as the contemporary Agatha Christie… Suspense builds until it culminates in a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse that will keep you racing through the remaining pages.”
BuzzFeed, "13 New Thrillers That Will Make You Lose Sleep This Fall"

“Engrossing… One of Ware's strengths is propelling the story in a way that keeps readers trapped inside its pages, and armchair travelers can enjoy being whisked away to a location that's both breathtaking and deadly.”
Shelf Awareness

“Ruth Ware is often described as the new Agatha Christie . . . [S]he is a revitalizer, bringing the genre to a new audience with her modern preoccupations and addictive style.”
—Air Mail

“Tempestuous . . . [a] claustrophobic, adrenaline-fueled cat-and-mouse game.” 
—Publishers Weekly

“Ware’s gifts for characterization, plot, and pacing shine here… Ware’s fans will devour this in a sitting.”
—Library Journal (starred review)

“Ware has the perfect combination of light touch and complex plotting while also offering up the twists and reveals appreciated by Christie fans.”
The Amazon Book Review, “The best mysteries and thrillers of September” 

“Hilarious, well plotted, and vintage Ware, this one is not to be missed.”
—CrimeReads

“Ruth Ware's Hitchcockian thrillers have yet to disappoint.”
PopSugar

“Ware does what she does best: Gives us a familiar locked-door mystery setup and lets the tension and suspicion marinate until they reach fever pitch. Another win for Ware… Simply masterful.”
—Kirkus

"The Turn of the Key was not her first book, but its sweep of starred reviews and awards sets up One by One to be a most anticipated thriller of 2020.”
Library Journal

"Read this back to back with Christie’s And Then There Were None, and you will witness the evolution of a literary form over the space of eight decades as Ware proves she’s more than deserving of all those comparisons to the Queen of Crime.”
—BookPage

“A gripping thriller that shows how toxic workplace culture can get and will keep you guessing through the very last page.”
Good Housekeeping

"Ware has quickly earned herself a place atop the psychological thriller world in recent years, and One by One, which brings in elements of the traditional mystery, is an exciting new addition to her body of work."
CrimeReads, "Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020"

PRAISE FOR RUTH WARE

“The Agatha Christie of our generation.”
—David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A superb suspense writer . . . Brava, Ruth Ware.”
Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan for The Washington Post

“Diabolically clever.”
—Riley Sager, author of Final Girls

"Ruth Ware—one of our favorite thriller writers—is bringing down the house . . .”
theSkimm

“Ruth Ware proves she’s the true heir to Wilkie Collins. Creepy, engrossing, and oh-so-hard to put down."
—JP Delaney, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before

"Pure suspense, from the first gripping page to the last shocking twist."
—Erin Kelly, bestselling author of He Said/She Said

“Ware skillfully lays the bread crumbs to the novel’s satisfying conclusion… [that] leaves readers with one final, haunting question, one that will stay with them long after they turn the last page.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Ware hits another one out of the park. Fans of hers or anyone with a taste for the disturbing will stay up late devouring this."
Library Journal, starred review

"Ware at her eerie best."
Newsweek

“A superb suspense writer… Ware is a master at signaling the presence of evil at the most mundane moments…”
Washington Post Book World

“The definition of ‘unputdownable’…” 
Refinery29

"A great modern whodunit!"
New York Post

"Haunting and absurdly suspenseful."
PureWow

"Ware's propulsive prose keeps readers on the hook and refuses to let anyone off until all has been revealed."
Shelf Awareness

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