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Discover Ruth Ware’s books in order and ranked. This helpful list includes ratings and reviews of each and every one of her popular psychological thriller, mystery, and suspense novels. You’ll be able to decide exactly which one of these books to read first or next. Plus, get a free printable PDF of Ruth Ware’s books to track your reading below.

one by one ruth ware on the carpet.

Ruth Ware Books in Order

  1. In a Dark, Dark Wood (2015)
  2. The Woman in Cabin 10 (2016)
  3. The Lying Game (2017)
  4. The Death of Mrs. Westway (2018)
  5. The Turn of the Key (2019)
  6. One by One (2020)
  7. The It Girl (2022)
  8. Zero Days (2023)
  9. One Perfect Couple (New Book; Release Date: May 21, 2024)

Reading Tip: You do not have to read Ruth Ware’s books in order of publication. They are all standalone novels that are not part of a series. They can be read in any order.

Ruth Ware Books Ranked

QUICK SUMMARY

Below is my full list of the best Ruth Ware books ranked and rated:

  1. In a Dark, Dark Wood ★★★★★
  2. One by One ★★★★☆
  3. The Woman in Cabin 10 ★★★★☆
  4. One Perfect Couple ★★★★☆
  5. The Turn of the Key ★★★☆☆
  6. The Lying Game ★★★☆☆
  7. Zero Days ★★★☆☆
  8. The It Girl ★★★☆☆
  9. The Death of Mrs. Westway ★★☆☆☆

Ruth Ware Book Reviews: Why You Should Read These Mystery Novels

I have read every published Ruth Ware book, and I rate and rank them all below. I have also included other readers’ rankings on GoodReads, so that you have a complete picture of how her thrillers stack up beyond my perspective.

In a Dark, Dark Wood (2015)

  • Instant New York TimesUSA Today, and Los Angeles Times bestseller
  • An NPR Best Book of the Year
  • My rating: ★★★★★; ranking: #1 of 9
  • GoodReads rating: 3.72 stars; ranking: #7 of 9

Best for those looking for an unputdownable thriller

In a Dark, Dark Wood is about the bachelorette party from H-E-double hockey sticks. A lonely writer named Leonora is surprisingly invited to an old friend’s pre-wedding bash at a glass-encased home deep in the English countryside. She agrees to attend with another friend.

The Bachelorette party storyline is told in the past. In the present, Leonora is in the hospital after an accident. She is suspected of murder and trying to remember both what happened and how she got there. Thus begins a deadly spiral of events.

I thought this was an exceptional thriller and debut novel! I absolutely could not put it down. Leonora’s “present” situation kept me completely glued to the pages to figure out her past.

Also, since bachelorette parties can make for strange bedfellows, I thought this was the perfect setting for an unlikely group of characters to be forced to deal with each other in an isolated location.

It simply has all the markings of a suspenseful read.


The Woman in Cabin 10 (2016)

  • Instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller
  • My rating: ★★★★☆; ranking: #3 of 9
  • GoodReads rating: 3.73 stars; ranking: #5 of 9

Best for fans of unreliable narrators and locked-room mysteries

The Woman in Cabin 10 is widely considered the most popular thriller by novelist Ruth Ware.

Travel journalist Lo is reeling from a home burglary. She believes she has received the assignment of a lifetime when she steps aboard a small, luxury cruise ship in the North Sea for a week of work.

But something more ominous is on the horizon. A drunk and anxious Lo believes she witnessed a woman thrown overboard. Yet, all of the passengers remain accounted for and her concerns are generally dismissed.

As the ship continues to sail, a wave of twists builds up in this intense “locked room” setting.

It’s one of those mega-bestselling, unputdownable thrillers everyone should read. At the same time, you need to let go of your logic and just escape with this one, as many plot points don’t totally add up. But, it’s still well worth the read for thriller fans.


The Lying Game (2017)

  • My rating: ★★★☆☆; ranking: #6 of 9
  • GoodReads rating: 3.53 stars; ranking: #9 of 9

Best for fans of toxic friendships and dark academia

In The Lying Game, human remains are found in a small coastal village, and a local woman named Kate texts her old boarding school friends that she needs them.

This intriguing opening scene sets the stage for the story of four girls who were known for their incessant lies and problems at the school.

They reconvene as adults, and while Kate remains guarded, the remainder of the group, led by new mother Isa, slowly uncovers the truth behind the lies. Ultimately, they must decide whether to lie or tell the truth going forward.

This one just felt very “middle-of-the-road” for me. I don’t really have anything super positive or negative about it. It was just your average psychological thriller. Since GoodReads’ reviewers also rated it lower, I recommend it only if you love dark academia and/or want to read Ware’s full catalog.


The Death of Mrs. Westway (2018)

  • Instant New York Times bestseller
  • A New York Public Library Best Book of 2019
  • My rating: ★★☆☆☆; ranking: #9 of 9
  • GoodReads rating: 3.81 stars; ranking: #3 of 9

Best for fans of slowly burning mysteries and family secrets

The Death of Mrs. Westway is an ominous and mysterious novel about a tarot card reader named Harriet who believes she has wrongly received an inheritance letter. After she attends the funeral of the deceased elderly woman, though, she starts to believe there’s something more hiding beneath the surface.

The closer she gets to the family, the more she finds mysterious connections to her own life. These suspicions unravel slowly to reveal the truth, and the story builds to one very suspenseful and thrilling conclusion.

This particular novel is at the bottom of my personal rankings because of how slowly it burned. I became bored by the story until it reached the end, which was a pretty epic conclusion that kept me on the edge of my seat. That being said, GoodReads reviewers generally enjoyed it. So, I recommend it to those who don’t mind the delayed pacing.


The Turn of the Key (2019)

  • Instant New York Times bestseller
  • My rating: ★★★☆☆; ranking: #5 of 9
  • GoodReads rating: 3.92 stars; ranking: #1 of 9

Best for fans of haunted houses and the dark secrets of rich families

In The Turn of the Key, Rowan Caine finds a live-in nanny job at a remote mansion called Heatherbrae House in the Scottish Highlands with a picturesque family.

But, her dream job becomes a nightmare when a child dies and she finds herself in prison awaiting trial for murder. She writes to her lawyer, trying to explain the odd events in the home that led to her incarceration and prove her innocence.

What may make this book so popular is that the reader immediately knows Rowan is in prison. It really keeps you hooked to learn how she got there and whether she will be convicted. Also, the “haunted mansion” deep in Scotland makes it feel very ominous.

While it wasn’t my personal favorite Ruth Ware book, there are definitely some surprising twists, and it’s generally extremely well-liked. Most Ruth Ware fans will enjoy this spooky mansion mystery, especially as a moody Fall thriller book.


One by One (2020)

  • Instant New York Times bestseller
  • My rating: ★★★★☆; ranking: #2 of 9
  • GoodReads rating: 3.73 stars; ranking: #6 of 9

Best for fans of locked-room mysteries

In One by One, eight coworkers from a trendy London tech start-up get snowed in at a luxurious ski resort in the French Alps when an avalanche cuts the group off from the outside world.

It may seem cozy, but as the hours pass without any sign of a possible rescue, the group begins to dwindle. Characters begin to die “one by one” and ulterior motives and dark secrets are slowly revealed as tensions mound.

This atmospheric winter thriller book kept me totally engaged and guessing “whodunnit” (and who would stay alive) as I read along in the “dead” of Winter myself. It remains one of the best Ruth Ware books for me.

Reading Tip: I recommend reading in print or digital format and taking notes on the many characters, who are hard to track on audio.

Related Post: One by One Summary


The It Girl (2022)

  • Instant New York Times bestseller
  • My rating: ★★★☆☆; ranking: #8 of 9
  • GoodReads rating: 3.85 stars; ranking: #2 of 9

Best for fans of dark academia novels

The It Girl uncovers the truth about the death of Oxford’s popular student, April Clarke-Cliveden a decade earlier. Indeed, she was a woman of “two faces,” as many “it” girls are in a high-pressure academic environment at a young age.

April’s friend Hannah is now married to another of their friends, Will, and expecting a baby. But, when April’s convicted killer dies in prison and a journalist presents evidence he may be innocent, Hannah’s “nesting” stage of life becomes interrupted by a desperate search for the truth.

Hannah reconnects with the remainder of her college group of friends to shed new light on the past, and the results offer twists along the way to a thrilling conclusion.

This book gets mixed reviews. I know many people who loved it, but I personally found it way too long to remain invested in the storyline, which many other readers did agree on. Overall, I recommend it to the biggest fans of dark academia.


Zero Days (2023)

  • Instant New York Times bestseller
  • My rating: ★★★☆☆; ranking: #7 of 9
  • GoodReads rating: 3.65 stars; ranking: #8 of 9

Best for those who like the dark web, suspense, and fugitive stories

In Zero Days, Jack and her husband, Gabe, are a team hired to break into buildings and security systems.

When Jack finds Gabe tragically dead, she’s on a race against time to figure out who did it, as the police are narrowing in on her as their lead suspect. While she tries to remain untraceable, she does still connect with her sister, Helena, for moral support, and Gabe’s best friend, Cole, who works in tech security and may be able to help her.

The chase definitely heats up, but don’t look for any major twists in this one. While I enjoyed the reading experience (especially on audio, as it was well acted with different voices) and found it to be a satisfying read, there was nothing that made it especially great to me. GoodReads reviewers likewise didn’t favor it. I think it’s best for those who love suspense and don’t mind the lack of plot twists.


One Perfect Couple (2024)

  • Instant New York Times bestseller
  • My rating: ★★★★☆; ranking: #4 of 9
  • GoodReads rating: 3.75 stars; ranking: #4 of 9

Best for fans of survivor stories

In One Perfect Couple, Lyla agrees to go on a new reality TV show with her aspiring actor boyfriend, Nico. They arrive on “Ever After Island” in the Indian Ocean and meet the four couples they will compete against for a cash prize.

The production of the show feels odd, leaving the cast feeling uneasy. Then, a storm cuts the cast off from production (and the rest of the world). They are each left fighting for survival as supplies decrease and both tensions and dead bodies increase.

Overall, this was a great beachy escape read. The premise was unique and the plot went beyond the usual “locked room mystery,” with the storm causing as much harm as the people stranded in “paradise.” There are some twists, but they aren’t jaw-dropping. Still, it’s a fun ride for those looking for a guilty pleasure read.

Reading Tip: I recommend reading in print or digital format and taking notes on the many characters, who are hard to track on audio.

Printable PDF List of Ruth Ware’s Bestselling Books

ruth ware books in order.
ruth ware's book list.

RUTH WARE’S BOOK LIST

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About Thriller Author Ruth Ware

about

Ruth Ware is a #1 New York Times bestselling British author. She debuted as an adult novel writer under this pen name with In A Dark, Dark Wood in 2015. Previously, she wrote young adult fantasy novels under the name Ruth Warburton.

She has been described as a modern-day Agatha Christie. She has described her own fiction books as being “full of murder, family secrets, toxic friendships and things that go bump in the night.”

Prominent in her books are isolated settings and fairly large casts of characters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I read Ruth Ware books in order?

Ruth Ware’s books are all standalone novels that can be read in any order. If you wish to start at the beginning, her first novel is In a Dark, Dark Wood.

Who to read if you like Ruth Ware?

If you like Ruth Ware, try authors like Lucy Foley, Shari Lapena, and Tana French. Their suspenseful thrillers with atmospheric settings are perfect for fans of plot twists and page-turning books.

How many books has Ruth Ware written?

Ruth Ware has published nine books under this pen name. Previously, she also wrote young adult fantasy novels under the name Ruth Warburton.

What is Zero Days by Ruth Ware about?

Zero Days follows a security expert who becomes the prime suspect in her husband’s murder. As she navigates a web of deceit and danger, she must uncover the real killer to clear her name.

Which Ruth Ware book should I read first?

Ruth Ware’s books are all standalone novels, so you can start with any one. You may wish to start with her bestselling book, The Woman in Cabin 10, or her highest-rated book on GoodReads, The Turn of the Key.

Conclusion

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2 Comments

  1. I was shocked to see the Death of Mrs. Westway in last. I appreciated the slow burn, maybe because the ending was such an explosion. It was my favourite by far.