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Discover the best Ruth Ware books based on these rankings and reviews of each and every one of her popular psychological thriller, mystery, and suspense novels, so you can decide exactly which one of these book recommendations is best for you to read first or next.

Plus, get a free printable PDF of Ruth Ware’s books to track your reading.

One Perfect Couple
Ruth Ware’s new book
05/21/2024 (Publication Date)

I have personally read each and every published Ruth Ware book, and I rank the best Ruth Ware books below, including my personal rankings, as well as other readers’ rankings on GoodReads, so that you have a more complete picture of how her thrillers stack up beyond my own perspective, and what type of reader would like each one best.


About Ruth Ware’s Books

one by one ruth ware on the carpet.


Ruth Ware is a #1 New York Times bestselling British author, who debuted her first novel, In A Dark, Dark Wood in 2015. She has been described as a modern-day Agatha Christie, and 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, including locked room mysteries.

Quick List of the Best Ruth Ware Books Ranked

Below is the full list of best Ruth Ware books ranked in order of which ones I liked best to least:

  1. In a Dark, Dark Wood (my top pick)
  2. One by One
  3. The Woman in Cabin 10 (the best seller worldwide)
  4. The Lying Game
  5. The Turn of the Key (GoodReads readers’ top pick)
  6. Zero Days
  7. The It Girl
  8. The Death of Mrs. Westway

Full Details

In a Dark, Dark Wood

  • Instant New York TimesUSA Today, and Los Angeles Times bestseller
  • An NPR Best Book of the Year, Entertainment Weekly Summer Books pick, Buzzfeed “31 Books to Get Excited About This Summer” pick, Publishers Weekly “Top Ten Mysteries and Thrillers” pick, Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year, BookReporter Summer Reading Pick, New York Post “Best Novels to Read this Summer” pick, Shelf Awareness “Book Expo America 2015 Buzz Book” pick

Best for those looking for an unputdownable thriller

  • My ranking: #1 of 8
  • GoodReads ranking: 3.72 out of 5 (#5 of 8)

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, and she agrees to attend alongside another friend.

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

This was an exceptional thriller and debut novel! I absolutely could not put it down, and Leonora’s “present” situation kept me completely glued to the pages to figure out her past — both recent and distant in time.

And, since bachelorette parties can make for strange bedfellows, I thought this was the perfect setting for a psychological thriller involving an unlikely group of characters forced to come together and deal with each other in an isolated location. It has all the markings of a great, suspenseful read.

One by One

Instant New York Times bestseller

  • My ranking: #2 of 8
  • GoodReads ranking: 3.73 out of 5 (#4 of 8)

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, as 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, as 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.

Related Post: Full Guide to One by One

The Woman in Cabin 10

  • Instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller
  • An Entertainment Weekly “Summer Must List” pick
  • A New York Post “Summer Must-Read” pick
  • Included in Summer Book Guides from Bustle,, PureWow, and USA Today

Best for fans of unreliable narrators and locked-room mysteries

  • My ranking: #3 of 8
  • GoodReads ranking: 3.73 out of 5 (#3 of 8)

The Woman in Cabin 10 is probably the most beloved thriller by novelist Ruth Ware, and many would indeed call it the best Ruth Ware book based on its sales and comparisons to massively successful psychological thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

Travel journalist Lo is reeling from a home burglary, and 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.

But something more ominous is on the horizon, as 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, but at the same time, you need to let go of your logic with this one, as many plot points don’t add up. With a bit more editing to answer the questions of critical readers, it could have been exceptional, but it’s still well worth the read.

The Lying Game

Best for fans of toxic friendships and dark academia

  • My ranking: #4 of 8
  • GoodReads ranking: 3.53 out of 5 (#8 of 8)

In The Lying Game, when human remains are found in a small coastal village, a resident 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 uncover the truth behind the lies and, 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.

The Turn of the Key

Instant New York Times bestseller

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

  • My ranking: #5 of 8
  • GoodReads ranking: 3.92 out of 5 (#1 of 8)

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.

I think what makes this book so popular amongst readers 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 I think most Ruth Ware fans will enjoy this spooky mansion mystery, especially as a moody Fall read.

Zero Days

Instant New York Times bestseller

  • My ranking: #6 of 8
  • GoodReads ranking: 3.67 out of 5 (#7 of 8)

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. As she tries to remain untraceable, she still connects 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 at the same time, 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.

The It Girl

  • My ranking: #7 of 8
  • GoodReads ranking: 3.86 out of 5 (#6 of 8)

Instant New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of dark academia novels

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

Her 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 have been 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.

I know many people who loved this book, but I personally found it to be way too long to remain invested in the storyline, which many other readers did agree about. I also just find the dark academia genre to feel overdone. So, the overall reviews are mixed, but I recommend this one to fans of dark academia.

The Death of Mrs. Westway

  • Instant New York Times bestseller
  • A New York Public Library Best Book of 2019

Best for fans of slowly burning mysteries and family secrets

  • My ranking: #8 of 8
  • GoodReads ranking: 3.81 out of 5 (#2 of 8)

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.

The reason this particular novel is at the bottom of my personal ranking is because of how slowly it burned. I became bored by the story until it reached the end, which still was a pretty epic conclusion that did keep me on the edge of my seat. So, I would recommend it more for those who don’t mind the more delayed pacing.

Printable PDF of the List of Ruth Ware’s Books

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ruth Ware’s best book?

Reasonable minds may differ; however, The Woman in Cabin 10 is by far the best-selling Ruth Ware book, with the popular themes that thriller readers worldwide most crave — a locked room mystery and an unreliable narrator — akin to mega bestsellers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

Which Ruth Ware book to start with?

Ruth Ware’s psychological thriller books are all standalone novels, so you can start with any book. 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.

What order should I read Ruth Ware books?

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.


The best Ruth Ware books encapsulate everything that readers love about psychological thrillers, including suspense and lots of plot twists.


To recap and help you decide what to read first or next:

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  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.