We Will Be Watching

I just finished Ruth Ware‘s excellent new novel One By One last night. Since my brain is still in Ruth Ware mode, I decided now is the perfect time to check out her two recent short stories. First up, I read her new ebook, We Will Be Watching. (Stay tuned for my review of her audiobook, Snowflakes, next!)

Summary

As with One By One, in We Will Be Watching, we get a close look at a handful of professional colleagues. Lana, Carol, Ravi, and Alistair are at an escape room in London as part of a sort of team-building exercise. Each of them selects a mask before entering the so-called “Masked Ball” escape room. From here, they must get through three rooms, and they can only move forward.

Right away, the four colleagues are on edge. The escape room is far spookier – and darker – than they’d anticipated. But worse than that, as they search for clues in order to escape each room, they begin to notice eerie coincidences to their real lives. Someone has dug up ugly secrets, but for what gain? Are they in mortal danger? Will they ever escape this torturous prison?

Review

At first, We Will Be Watching feels like the kind of story I’ve come to expect from Ruth Ware – and I mean that in the best way possible. It has the snarky humor mixed with the edge-of-your-seat creep factor, it has the locked-room setting and the real-world mystery to unravel. Indeed, these elements are why I keep reading her books! Even so, We Will Be Watching also introduced some new themes and a different vibe.

I love that, at its core, this ebook has a certain old-school quality. It feels like a parlor mystery, both in tone and in its closed-in setting. The four colleagues end up in an escape room that mirrors a fancy ball at an old mansion. Eerie gramophone music and featured masks transport us to another era, even if our characters are solidly of the 21st century.

The unnerving setting is instant, but the mystery and feeling of danger come in more gradually. When Lana stumbles across a secret from her past, it feels unexpected and almost jarring. I admit, it took me a moment to understand what just happened. From there, one by one we start to see her three colleagues run into damaging secrets of their own. With the exception of one, it seems that each secret is worse than the last.

Ruth Ware does a great job of building up the sense of claustrophobia and anxiety as time goes on. I felt as anxious for the characters to get out as they did! Not only is We Will Be Watching immersive, but its limited page length makes it easy to read in one sitting, keeping the reader locked in the story.

The stakes may not be as high as Ruth Ware’s full-length novels – there’s not so much violence, nor is there much room for major twists – but it’s still a gripping story. I found it both thought-provoking and thoroughly eerie, and it was a short story I’ll likely reread.

Final Thoughts

We Will Be Watching is a wonderful short story. It’s an immersive locked-room mystery with a classic vibe, and it was a joy to read. It’s definitely worth your time!

If you want more Ruth Ware short stories, check out her recent audiobook Snowflakes and her 2019 ebook, The Tale of Mrs. Westaway (itself a companion to her fourth novel, The Death of Mrs. Westaway).

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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The Turn of the Key

Following Ruth Ware‘s thrillers, In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game, her fourth novel, 2018’s The Death of Mrs. Westaway, presented a new, more gothic side to her storytelling. This theme carries over into Ruth Ware’s newest book, The Turn of the Key, released last month. I’ve decided to read… Continue Reading →

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The Death of Mrs. Westaway

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The Lying Game

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the woman in cabin 10 - ruth ware

The Woman in Cabin 10

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In a Dark, Dark Wood

After reading – and loving – The Woman In Cabin 10, I knew I had to go back and read the rest of Ruth Ware‘s books. I decided the logical step was to go chronologically from now on, so first up was her debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood. The story starts when Nora –… Continue Reading →

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Ruth Ware’s Short Stories

Ruth Ware - Snowflakes

Snowflakes

Yesterday I finished the excellent One By One by Ruth Ware. To further indulge my love of everything Ruth Ware, I decided it was the perfect time to check out her two recent short stories. Following her new ebook, We Will Be Watching, I just listened to her recent audiobook, Snowflakes. This short story is part of a… Continue Reading →

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The Tale of Mrs. Westaway

One year after releasing her fourth novel, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Ruth Ware just shared a companion novella, The Tale of Mrs. Westaway. It’s her first short story, and it’s also her first release available only as a free ebook. If you – like me! – loved The Death of Mrs. Westaway, then you’ll… Continue Reading →

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