Book Review: One by One by Freida McFadden

In her latest thriller, One by One, author Freida McFadden intertwines themes of infidelity, friendship, and survival. It’s a compelling story that is both a quick read and a whirlwind of unexpected twists. Learn more about the story, then read my review and find out why I gave the book three stars (out of five).

One by one, they will get what they deserve…

A night spent sleeping on dirt and leaves is not how Claire Matchett expected to spend her vacation.

She thought this would be a break from the stresses of work and raising her young children. A chance to repair her damaged marriage. A week of hiking and hot tubs with two other couple friends. It sounded like heaven.

Then Claire’s minivan breaks down on a lonely dirt road. With no cell reception, the group has no choice but to hike the rest of the way to their hotel. But it turns out the woods aren’t as easy to navigate as they thought.

Hours later, they are lost. Hopelessly lost.

And as they navigate deeper into the woods, the members of their party are struck down mysteriously one by one. Has a wild animal been hunting them? Or is the hunter one of them?

But as more time passes, one thing becomes clear:

Only one of them will return home alive. []

At the heart of One by One is Claire, a woman whose marriage is failing. The decision to vacation with her husband and friends, including her best friend and secret lover, quickly spirals into a nightmare when their minivan breaks down, leaving them stranded and lost in the forest. As the group works to find a way out, a pattern emerges: they start to die one by one. Who, if anyone, will make it out alive?

True to McFadden’s style, One by One follows the structure of a classic thriller—suspense, intrigue, and the unraveling of secrets. This is the second time I’ve read the author’s work, and it’s clear she has a talent for turning out reliable and entertaining mysteries. While the story sometimes lags and feels repetitive, it’s a fun read for mystery lovers.

One by One isn’t just a story about a disastrous vacation; it’s a twisted web of lies, betrayal, and survival that keeps readers guessing until the very end. For those searching for a quick, thrilling page-turner, One by One is worth your time.

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

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