Book excerpt: "One by One" by Ruth Ware

With a nod to Agatha Christie, Ruth Ware creates a deadly mystery in "One by One" (Scout Press). As board members of a high-tech music firm arrive in the French Alps for a corporate retreat, an avalanche cuts them off from the outside world – and then, they start dying …

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Scout Press

Snoop ID: ANON101
Listening to: James Blunt / You're Beautiful
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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.

Excerpted from "One By One" by Ruth Ware. Copyright © 2020 by Ruth Ware. Excerpted with permission by Scout Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

       
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