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One by One

LIST PRICE $39.99

“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.

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.

"Imogen Church's extraordinary narration of Ruth Ware's newest suspense novel will keep listeners glued to their earbuds, unable to do anything else but listen wide-eyed and rapt. In an homage to Agatha Christie (AND THEN THERE WERE NONE), Ware has taken the premise of people trapped in an isolated house with an unidentified killer; cleverly adapted the who, where, and what to the 21st century; and pumped up the dread with parallel first-person narratives. Ten employees of a tech start-up meet for a retreat in an alpine chalet with two staff. Tensions abound; then an avalanche isolates the group. Church delivers a myriad of individual voices, offers telling characterizations, and transports listeners into every scene with perfect pacing of the humor, conflicts, and terror. It's witty, cunning, and addictive."

– Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award, AudioFile Magazine

More books from this author: Ruth Ware

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