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!)
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?
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.
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).
More from Ruth Ware
One By One
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The Turn of the Key
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The Death of Mrs. Westaway
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The Lying Game
One year ago, The Woman in Cabin 10 drew me into the world of Ruth Ware. I loved that book, and knew I had to collect her other novels, too! Last spring I enjoyed her debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood, and now it was time for book #3, The Lying Game, published in 2017.…
The Woman in Cabin 10
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In a Dark, Dark Wood
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Ruth Ware’s Short Stories
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…
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…