This is a surprisingly conventional thriller from Ruth Ware. Her slick storytelling sensibilities are on full display, but I missed the careful construction and precision of her mysteries. This one reads just a little too familiarly for it to stand out.
In Zero Days we’re introduced to husband and wife team Jacintha Cross and Gabe Medway. They manage Crossways Security, a London outfit that stress-tests security systems. Jack’s the boots-on-the-ground operator, while Gabe works cybersecurity. After a botched assignment, Jack returns home to find Gabe dead, his throat cut — and very quickly she becomes the prime suspect. Now a fugitive in the CCTV capital of the world, injured and distraught, Jack investigates her husband’s murder.
You can squeeze a lot of juice from the orange that is the classic cat-and-mouse chase scenario. But here it lacks a lot of tension because we never really know how close the cops are to locating Jack; the narrative is framed exclusively from her perspective. And the beating heart of this thriller — its mystery — is severely undercooked. There are no real red herrings; I guessed the killer (or at least the person responsible) early on, and assumed there’d be a massive twist, or at least a few divergents. But no — it’s bizarrely straightforward; the last thing you expect from Ware.