15 Best Ruth Ware Books to Read in 2024 [All Ranked]

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Ruth Ware knows how to keep readers up at night. She’s the master of mystery, taking readers from spooky houses to creepy towns, uncovering secrets that have been buried for years, all filled with puzzles that beg to be solved.

In this Best Ruth Ware Books list, we go into the suspense-filled world of Ruth Ware, ranking her best books and exploring what makes them resonate with readers worldwide.

But be warned: choosing which Ruth Ware book to start with—or declaring the ultimate favorite—might just be the most thrilling mystery you’ll encounter.

Best Ruth Ware Books

• Best Overall: The Woman in Cabin 10

• Best Mystery: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

• Best Suspense: The Lying Game

1. The Woman in Cabin 10

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03/15/2024 01:15 pm GMT

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Adult

Journalist Lo Blacklock gets the chance to report on a luxury cruise’s first trip, but her excitement quickly turns to horror when she hears a disturbing noise from the cabin next door, followed by what she swears is a body being thrown overboard.

With all passengers supposedly accounted for and the crew dismissive of her claims, Lo finds herself alone to uncover the truth. Her determination draws her into a dangerous confrontation with a killer as she discovers secrets and lies.

“The Woman in Cabin 10” stands out for its setting on a luxury cruise, combining luxury with danger. The story centers on suspense, showing how Lo feels trapped by the vast sea and the secrets she finds out.

There’s a reason why we keep thoughts inside our heads for the most part—they’re not safe to be let out in public.

What you might love:

  • The novel explores physical and emotional isolation, striking a chord with those who enjoy psychological drama and deep thought.
  • The story delves into Lo’s mind, enriching the plot with psychological complexity. This makes the book much more than a straightforward thriller.
  • Lo Black is relatable due to her personal doubts and career goals, and her brave quest for the truth, despite being scared, makes her story engaging.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some might not like how the main character often uses alcohol and medication to handle stress.
  • Readers who enjoy diverse and open settings might not enjoy the story’s confined cruise ship setting.
  • The novel’s tense atmosphere may make some readers anxious, especially those who are sensitive to paranoia and distress.

2. In a Dark, Dark Wood

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03/15/2024 01:15 pm GMT

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Crime

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Out of the blue, she’s invited to Clare’s hen party in a remote glass house deep in the woods. What starts as a bizarre trip down memory lane quickly turns into a nightmare.

Nora wakes up in a hospital, injured, with the haunting feeling that someone is dead. The book pieces together the events leading up to the accident, revealing shocking truths and testing the limits of old friendships.

Set against a mysterious bachelorette party in a remote woodland house, “In a Dark, Dark Wood” explores the dark corners of past relationships and the lengths to which people will go to protect their secrets.

There was something strangely naked about it, like we were on a stage set, playing our parts to an audience of eyes out there in the wood

What you might love:

  • The use of flashbacks is clever, piecing together what happened that weekend and why Nora is in the hospital.
  • The protagonist, Nora, can’t remember everything from the weekend, making her an unreliable narrator and adding layers to the mystery.
  • The novel explores deep themes of friendship, love, and betrayal, resonating with readers who appreciate the emotional depth in their thrillers.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Exploring jealousy and obsession might not attract those seeking a lighter read.
  • Characters sometimes make illogical or frustrating decisions, annoying readers who prefer rational actions.
  • Readers who favor action over deep psychological themes might not enjoy the novel’s focus on internal conflict.

3. The It Girl

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03/15/2024 01:15 pm GMT

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Adult

Hannah Jones’ life is forever altered by the murder of her friend April at Oxford. Convinced that the janitor, John Neville, is the killer based on her own observations, Hannah’s testimony helps convict him.

A decade later, living with April’s former boyfriend and expecting their child, Hannah’s peace is shattered. Neville’s death in prison and a journalist’s claims of his innocence force her to re-examine the events of that tragic time.

Hannah explores her past and faces the thought that one of her close friends might be a killer. The story uniquely blends memory, guilt, and truth-seeking themes with a narrative that switches between then and now, bringing a new angle.

Maybe it wasn’t only John Neville who stole April’s life. Maybe she has done the same.

What you might love:

  • The characters, each hiding secrets and complexities, come across as real and captivating.
  • The story unfolds by switching between past and present, gradually revealing the mystery of April’s fate.
  • The novel centers on friendship, loyalty, and how far one might go to protect loved ones, striking a chord with readers.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Characters’ decisions might feel unrealistic or frustrating to those who expect more logic.
  • Some might find the story’s build-up slow, especially if they prefer faster-paced narratives.
  • The novel’s focus on dark themes and deep psychology may not suit those looking for lighter reads.

4. The Turn of the Key

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03/15/2024 01:16 pm GMT

Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Horror, Suspense

Rowan Caine lands a nannying job at Heatherbrae House, drawn by the high pay and advanced “smart” home. She soon faces unexpected challenges, including technology issues and demanding children, far from the perfect family she was led to believe.

Isolated, except for Jack Grant, the handyman, Rowan’s situation worsens, leading to a tragedy and her arrest. She claims innocence in her letters from jail, acknowledging her mistakes but denying the murder.

“The Turn of the Key” stands out with its modern gothic feel in a technologically advanced setting. The book merges classic haunted house elements with today’s digital concerns, crafting a timely and suspenseful story.

Because it was the lies that got me here in the first place. And I have to believe that it’s the truth that will get me out.

What you might love:

  • Rowan writes letters from prison, sharing her story in a personal and intimate way that engages readers.
  • The novel goes beyond simple scares to explore deep psychological themes like guilt, isolation, and paranoia.
  • Set in a smart home in the Scottish Highlands, the story gives a modern, technological spin to the classic haunted house theme.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Readers could get frustrated with the protagonist’s decisions, finding them illogical at times.
  • Not everyone might find the themes of surveillance and privacy in a high-tech world interesting.
  • Those who prefer traditional settings might not like the smart home and its technology in the story.

5. One by One

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03/15/2024 01:16 pm GMT

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Adult

Members of a London-based tech startup, Snoop, gather in a luxurious chalet for a retreat. But their retreat takes a horrific turn when an avalanche traps them, cutting them off from the world, and a series of accidents—or murders?—begins to thin their ranks.

Told through the alternating perspectives of an employee with a hidden stake in the company’s future and a chalet host with secrets of her own, the survivors must find the killer among them before they’re picked off one by one.

The mix of being stuck in a snowstorm, cut off from everyone else, along with the company team’s secrets and conflicts, makes for a gripping and intense story that feels new and classic.

It’s not just the snow; it’s a hundredweight of unwelcome memories bearing down on me.

What you might love:

  • Ware presents characters with secrets and motives, engaging their interactions and struggles.
  • The story skillfully mixes real clues and misleading hints, making readers actively sort out the truth.
  • Tech company politics add a fresh twist to the classic mystery, drawing in technology and corporate drama fans.

What might not be for everyone:

  • A large cast of characters might overwhelm or confuse readers at the start.
  • Some readers might not enjoy the survival theme in a snowy setting if they prefer psychological thrillers.
  • Switching between different characters’ viewpoints could disorient or frustrate those who like one consistent perspective.

6. The Death of Mrs. Westaway

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03/15/2024 01:16 pm GMT

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Adult

Hal Westaway, a tarot reader in financial trouble, gets a letter of inheritance from Mrs. Westaway—a relative she never knew she had. Seeing a chance to fix her money problems, Hal goes to Cornwall and gets caught up in the Westaway family’s secrets.

Digging into the mystery, Hal learns about her own past and discovers the Westaways are much more complex and possibly dangerous than she thought.

“The Death of Mrs. Westaway” is a must for mystery fans who like stories filled with secrets and dark family histories. The book combines modern storytelling with a classic mystery feel, exploring themes like identity and the impact of hidden secrets.

Some situations have no simple resolution; all we can do is steer the course that causes the least harm.

What you might love:

  • Dark family secrets at the story’s heart intrigue readers who enjoy unraveling complex family ties.
  • The book explores identity, guilt, and how the past affects the present, giving readers a lot to think about.
  • Hal, the main character, faces financial issues and tough choices, drawing readers in with her relatable struggles.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The gothic setting might not attract fans of light or modern stories.
  • Tarot card themes may not interest those unfamiliar with or not keen on tarot.
  • The emphasis on suspense might overshadow the characters’ growth for some readers.

7. The Lying Game

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03/15/2024 01:16 pm GMT

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Adult

“The Lying Game” revolves around four women bound by a school-era pact to always lie, and never get caught. Decades later, their past resurfaces with a haunting text from their friend: “I need you.”

As they return to the coastal town of their youth, the consequences of their game surface. In a small, eerie town, they confront the lie that started it all. Their loyalty is tested, revealing truths about trust and the impact of their past actions.

Unique in its focus on the destructive power of lies within friendships, “The Lying Game” stands out for its psychological depth and haunting atmosphere. Its exploration of loyalty and truth adds a new dimension, making it a thrilling read.

A lie can outlast any truth.

What you might love:

  • The characters’ rich backgrounds and secrets captivate readers and draw them into the story.
  • The story touches on moral grey areas, engaging readers who like to think about ethical challenges.
  • The lying game’s rules and impacts offer a new take on thrillers, making the story exciting and hard to predict.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The story often switches between past and present, confusing those who like a straight story.
  • The plot focuses on choices made in the characters’ teenage years, which might not appeal to everyone.
  • The story delves into loyalty and morality complexly, not satisfying those who want straightforward heroes and villains.

8. Zero Days

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03/15/2024 01:16 pm GMT

Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Suspense Adult

“Zero Days” centers on Jacintha “Jack” Cross, a skilled penetration tester. The story sets off when Jack returns home to find her husband, Gabe, murdered, instantly turning her from a grieving widow to the prime suspect.

With her expertise in breaching security, Jack embarks on a quest to clear her name and find the real killer. Her journey is filled with danger, deceit, and the uncovering of secrets that challenge her understanding of her marriage and herself.

The book crafts a blend of psychological depth and action-packed situations in “Zero Days,” setting it apart with its unique perspective on digital vulnerabilities, the resilience of the human spirit, and a protagonist’s relentless pursuit of justice.

I honestly have no idea what my next move is. I didn’t plan any of this, and now—now I’m stuck. My only way out is through.

What you might love:

  • “Zero Days” blends technology and thrill, sparking interest with its tech-driven excitement.
  • Jacintha “Jack” Cross breaks into buildings for a living, showing readers an exciting, unique job.
  • At its core, the book delves into grief, survival, and resilience as Jack deals with her husband’s death.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Exploring grief and resilience might be too intense for those looking for a light read.
  • Telling the story from Jack’s point of view limits what we learn about other characters and events.
  • Jack’s unique job as a penetration specialist may not appeal to everyone, especially those who prefer more traditional heroes.

9. Marple: Twelve New Mysteries (Contributed a Story)

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03/15/2024 01:16 pm GMT

Genres: Mystery, Short Stories, Fiction, Crime, Thriller, Anthologies

This collection introduces twelve new stories that send Miss Marple on fresh mysteries. She uses her insight to solve crimes across the English countryside and London, meeting diverse characters along the way.

Each tale, though different, showcases Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple—wise, observant, and understanding of human nature. Modern writers like Ruth Ware add new layers to her character.

“Marple: Twelve New Mysteries” uniquely combines Christie’s timeless appeal with today’s storytelling. Several Authors like Ruth Ware pay tribute to Marple, adding new facets while respecting her iconic status.

Nothing puts a stop to curiosity quite like happiness.

What you might love:

  • Modern themes and settings refresh the series, making it appealing to today’s readers.
  • The anthology updates Miss Marple for modern times with stories from leading mystery authors.
  • The book presents twelve new mysteries, combining classic Marple intrigue with a modern twist.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Story quality in the anthology varies, with some tales shining more than others.
  • Modern twists in classic Marple settings might not sit well with fans of the original era.
  • Different authors’ take on Miss Marple might clash as they each reimagine her in their own way.
Ruth Ware is a pseudonym used by Ruth Warburton, under which she has written her psychological thriller and crime novels. Under her real name, Ruth Warburton, she has authored young adult (YA) fantasy novels, including the "Winter Trilogy." 

This dual authorship allows her to explore and publish works in different genres, catering to a diverse audience with varying interests.

10. A Witch in Love — Winter Trilogy #2

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03/15/2024 01:16 pm GMT

Genres: Witches, Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Magic, Supernatural

A contemporary witch, Emma, struggles with her powers and craves for a normal life. When her lover disappears under mysterious circumstances, Emma’s search leads her to stumble into ancient witchcraft and modern-day intrigue.

As Emma goes deeper, she must confront her fears, harness her powers, and uncover a conspiracy that has been going on for centuries. Giving readers a narrative that navigates the shadows of love and magic, revealing secrets at every turn.

“A Witch in Love” stands out for its blend of mystery and witchcraft, offering a fresh take on the thriller genre. It explores love’s dark side and the resilience needed to face one’s destiny.

What you might love:

  • The story deepens as Anna chooses between hiding her powers for love or using them despite the risks.
  • The book delves into the universal need for acceptance and belonging, connecting with many readers.
  • Anna’s fight with her powers, identity, and teen challenges makes her relatable, especially to young adults.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Fans of realistic stories might not enjoy the strong focus on fantasy.
  • Those seeking lighter tales may find the book’s dark themes, like betrayal and loss, too heavy.
  • Readers who like clear-cut relationships may get frustrated by the constant romantic ups and downs.

11. Witch Hunt — Witch Finder #2

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03/15/2024 01:40 pm GMT

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches, Paranormal, Magic, Romance, Historical

In “Witch Hunt,” eighteen-year-old witch hunter Luke Lexton fails his initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum by falling in love with his target, Rosa Greenwood, a sixteen-year-old witch.

Rosa, after failing to secure her family’s future through marriage, joins Luke in fleeing from her angry ex-fiancé and Luke’s former allies. Their journey across England is a thrilling escape filled with danger, love, and the threat of their pasts catching up.

“Witch Hunt” captures the essence of forbidden love while navigating the complexities of loyalty and identity. Its unique blend of historical fiction and romance makes it a compelling read for anyone interested in stories where love defies all odds.

What you might love:

  • The novel explores love, sacrifice, and tough choices, deeply touching readers.
  • The witch and witch hunter’s romance brings an exciting, forbidden twist that captivates many.
  • The setting and characters give a glimpse into the era’s culture and society, adding educational value.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Luke’s struggle with being a witch hunter might not interest all readers.
  • Some might find the story’s moral complexity hard if they like straightforward good vs. evil tales.
  • The theme of witch-hunting might disturb those who enjoy fantasy with less magic-user conflict.

12. A Witch in Winter — Winter Trilogy #1

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03/15/2024 01:40 pm GMT

Genres: Witches, Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Magic, Supernatural

After moving to Winter, Anna Winterson discovers she’s a witch, a truth she would have laughed off. Her romance with Seth becomes complicated when a spell she cast unwittingly fuels a deadly feud between witch clans.

As Anna adjusts to her powers and the ethical dilemma of her magic influencing Seth’s feelings, she finds herself at the heart of a battle for love and the essence of her identity​​​​.

“A Witch in Winter” blends witchcraft lore and the relatable trials of teenage love. It explores the moral complexities of using magic in relationships, offering a fresh take on the young adult fantasy genre.

What you might love:

  • The setting in a quaint coastal village adds a cozy yet mysterious atmosphere to the story.
  • The surprise of Anna discovering her witch powers in a new town adds an exciting twist right from the start.
  • Anna’s journey from disbelief to empowerment mirrors many real-life coming-of-age experiences, making her story relatable.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Starting a trilogy means reading more books for the full story, which might not fit all reading tastes.
  • The charming small-town setting might feel limiting to those seeking more exotic or varied locations.
  • The series introduction’s slow pace, setting up future books, might frustrate those wanting a faster story.

13. Witch Finder — Witch Finder #1

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03/15/2024 01:41 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Witches, Paranormal, Magic

Eighteen-year-old Luke Lexton must kill a witch or die as part of his initiation into a witch-hunting brotherhood. His target is Rosa Greenwood, a sixteen-year-old witch facing her own crisis, including a forced marriage to save her family.

When Luke and Rosa meet, their instant connection leads to a complex relationship, challenging their beliefs and futures. Their story unfolds in 1880s London, tackling themes of love versus duty, the impact of choices, and the struggle for personal identity.

“Witch Finder” talks about how love’s power to overcome barriers and its rich historical setting. The emotional journeys of Luke and Rosa, set against a backdrop of Victorian London’s dark secrets, make this novel an unforgettable read.

I accept the task. I’ll kill the girl. And there’s an end.

What you might love:

  • The lead character’s strength and determination make her an inspiring and engaging heroine.
  • The forbidden romance between a witch and her hunter adds an exciting, emotional layer to the story.
  • The exploration of moral dilemmas adds depth to the narrative, challenging readers to think critically about right and wrong.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Luke’s morally ambiguous choices might trouble readers who like clear heroes and villains.
  • The characters’ intense emotional conflicts might not appeal to those seeking lighter fiction.
  • The complex romance between a witch and a witch hunter might not attract those wanting a simple love story.

14. Snowflakes (Short Story)

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03/15/2024 01:41 pm GMT

Genres: Short Stories, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Leah and her siblings live on a remote island under the strict rule of their father, who has isolated them from a world he claims is ravaged by war. As they grow older, questions about their past and the truth of their father’s warnings begin to surface.

The tension rises as their father, consumed by paranoia, builds a wall around their home, sparking a crisis that reveals startling truths about their isolation and the actual dangers they face.

“Snowflakes” is a standout psychological thriller that includes intense family drama with the threat of apocalypse and paranoia. It deeply examines characters under the stress of extreme protection, exploring themes of trust and perception.

What you might love:

  • The mix of blurred truths and weakening family trust builds suspense.
  • A family working to build a life under tough conditions highlights themes of resilience and bonding.
  • The story’s emphasis on surviving and adapting to a new world intrigues those interested in human resilience.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Readers who like long, detailed stories may find this short format too brief.
  • The story’s political elements might not appeal to some readers.
  • The intense psychological tension might overwhelm those looking for lighter reads.

15. A Witch Alone — Winter Trilogy #3

Buy on Amazon
03/15/2024 01:41 pm GMT

Genres: Young Adult, Witches, Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Romance, Supernatural

In “A Witch Alone,” Anna Winterson searches her past for clues about her mother, her powers, and who she really is. Her journey uncovers dark secrets that could change the witch world. Facing a witch war, Anna must choose between her feelings and her duties.

This story shines with its deep look at family, identity, and legacy against a backdrop of magical conflict. Anna’s personal growth and the suspenseful plot make it stand out in young adult fantasy.

“A Witch Alone” combines personal discovery with an epic fantasy saga, offering a fulfilling end to Anna’s story that appeals to paranormal romance and fantasy fans alike.

What you might love:

  • As the conclusion to the trilogy, it ties up loose ends and concludes Anna’s story satisfyingly.
  • Themes of identity, power, and the cost of magic provoke reflection and discussion among readers.
  • The detailed magical world Warburton creates is immersive, drawing readers into a universe of witchcraft and wonder.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Anna’s decisions and outcomes could frustrate readers who disagree with her.
  • Darker themes like betrayal and sacrifice might not suit those looking for escape.
  • The teenage protagonist’s angst may not appeal to older readers or those wanting mature content.

Final Thoughts

Ruth Ware’s books push us to see the world differently, question our understanding of the people around us, and discover the intrigue hidden in everyday life. They invite us to face our fears and curiosities in thought-provoking ways.

These books show us how storytelling can connect us through suspense, surprises, and the thrill of survival. After all, the thrill of the unknown keeps us coming back for more.

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Erika Maniquiz is a certified teacher and librarian with a Library and Information Science degree. She cherishes the calm moments reading books as much as the dynamic discussions she has in her classroom. Beyond her career, she is a fan of Kdrama and loves Kpop's lively beats.