One Perfect Couple

One Perfect Couple

by Ruth Ware

Narrated by Imogen Church

Unabridged — 14 hours, 25 minutes

One Perfect Couple

One Perfect Couple

by Ruth Ware

Narrated by Imogen Church

Unabridged — 14 hours, 25 minutes

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Notes From Your Bookseller

The right balance of authentic character and thrilling stakes, One Perfect Couple boasts a breakneck pace and tension that squeezes tighter the longer you read.

Harkening to Agatha Christie's classic And Then There Were None, this high-tension thriller follows five couples trapped on a storm-swept island as a killer stalks among them-from Ruth Ware, the New York Times bestselling author who “is turning out to be as ingenious and indefatigable as the Queen of Crime” (The Washington Post).

Lyla is in a bit of a rut. Her post-doctoral research has fizzled out, she's pretty sure they won't extend her contract, and things with her boyfriend, Nico, an aspiring actor, aren't going great. When the opportunity arises for Nico to join the cast of a new reality TV show, One Perfect Couple, she agrees to try out with him.

A whirlwind audition process later, Lyla finds herself whisked off to a tropical paradise with Nico, boating through the Indian Ocean towards Ever After Island, where the two of them will compete against four other couples-Bayer and Angel, Dan and Santana, Joel and Romi, and Conor and Zana-in order to win a cash prize.

But not long after they arrive on the deserted island, things start to go wrong. After the first challenge leaves everyone rattled and angry, an overnight storm takes matters from bad to worse. Cut off from the mainland by miles of ocean, deprived of their phones, and unable to contact the crew that brought them there, the group must band together for survival. As tensions run high and fresh water runs low, Lyla finds that this game show is all too real-and the stakes are life or death.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


Bestseller Ware (Zero Days) fumbles a promising premise in this clever but slack closed-circle mystery. Biologist Lyla Santiago’s postdoc research on mosquito-borne illnesses hits a wall when inconsistencies in her colleague’s work threaten their grant funding. Rudderless, Lyla agrees to join her boyfriend, out-of-work actor Nico Reese, to film a reality TV competition called Ever After Island. On the Survivor-esque show, five couples complete in challenges on a remote island in the Indian Ocean and then vote to send one contestant home each week. Lyla plans to get eliminated quickly so she can return to London and sort out her future, leaving Nico behind to improve his career prospects. Her plan gets complicated, however, when a powerful storm sweeps across the island, isolating the contestants from the show’s production crew. When people start turning up dead, Lyla has to decide whom to trust, taking the traditional stakes of reality TV alliances to nerve-shredding new heights. Ware has plenty of fun with her Agatha Christie–esque setup, but she fails too whip up sufficient suspense—the plot’s resolution is simply too easy to crack. Readers will hope Ware returns to form next time out. Agent: Eve White, Eve White Literary. (May)

From the Publisher

"One Perfect Couple is a high-end beach read, but you may want to stick to dry land while enjoying it." —Air Mail

“Ware shifts from romantic satire to adventure novel to psychological thriller with a skill that cannot be denied.” —Wall Street Journal

“Ware once again delivers the literary goods, with a cheeky sense of wit (including a “blink and you’ll miss it” nod to one of her own books), a propulsive sense of pacing, and a fiendishly clever conclusion.” —Library Journal (starred review)

"The ultimate trouble-in-paradise thriller, One Perfect Couple is timely, gripping and all too plausible. The Love Island / Lord of the Flies mash-up you didn’t know you needed."—Erin Kelly, The Sunday Times bestselling author of The Skeleton Key

“A fresh, adrenaline-fueled take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None . . . absolutely ingenious . . . Bound to be a top summer 2024 beach read.” —Booklist (starred review)

Library Journal

★ 05/01/2024

What harm could it do? That is Lyla Santiago's initial thought when her boyfriend Nico suggests they compete in a new reality TV show called One Perfect Couple. Since Lyla's academic career as a scientist seems stalled, the idea of a few weeks' "vacation" to shoot the show sounds terrific. However, soon after arriving, with four other couples, on an isolated island in the Indian Ocean, Lyla finds her dream vacation turning into a nightmare. Ware puts her own inventive twists and turns on the popular "trapped with a killer in an isolated locale" type of suspense made famous by Agatha Christie in And Then There Were None. Ware then also deftly layers a bit of Lord of the Flies-style tension into her tautly strung storyline as her characters find themselves not only cut off from civilization but struggling to survive the after-effects of a deadly tropical storm. VERDICT Ware (Zero Days) once again delivers the literary goods, with a cheeky sense of wit (including a "blink and you'll miss it" nod to one of her own books), a propulsive sense of pacing, and a fiendishly clever conclusion.—John Charles

Kirkus Reviews

A reality TV paradise becomes a nightmare for the show’s unlucky contestants.

Lyla Santiago and Nico Reese have been dating for more than two years, and she’s beginning to feel like their relationship may be hitting a wall; she loves him, but his main focus at 28 is on his acting career, while, at 32, scientist Lyla is starting to dream about settling down. When Nico pleads with her to join him on a new reality TV show, One Perfect Couple, Lyla views it as an opportunity to see whether their relationship can go the distance—in reality as well as on TV. They arrive on a remote Indonesian island to find blue waters, white sands, romantic huts, and eight other contestants, all beautiful, glamorous, and clearly committed to bolstering their visibility by competing on the show. The director seems a bit shady; he insists (as their contract demands) that they turn in all electronics, plies them with booze, and then leaves with the crew—and the first ousted contestant. That night, a huge storm sweeps across the island. The next morning reveals a fatality among the wreckage: a hut and its inhabitant have been crushed by a tree, and the outbuildings have been destroyed. The remaining contestants are cut off from all communication, with the exception of one radio, and there is a very limited supply of food and water. So Love Island becomes Survivor, and one person in particular is set on being the last person standing. Ware offers another take on the locked-room mystery, but this time, her focus is less on creating a creepy atmosphere of dread, as she did in earlier novels, than on showing the absolute brutality of which some humans are capable. But she still has a good time herself: There’s a funny self-referential line to an earlier novel, plus some female characters MacGyver-ing a battery. The prolific Ware continues to stretch herself, taking on something new in each novel and writing strong—and increasingly kick-ass—female characters.

The most cinematic Ruth Ware novel so far.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159390752
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 05/21/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,215
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