Sep. 12 2018
Ruth Ware is the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind your favorite thrillers–In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, and her newest book, The Death of Mrs. Westaway. Last week, we shared a Q&A with Ruth Ware. Now, the famous author tells us all about her favorite TV shows, in delicious detail. For all of Ruth’s current picks, and why they’re her favorites, keep scrolling.
Ruth Ware says…
Although I am a compulsive reader, sometimes at the end of a long day, I just need a break from the written word, and one of my favourite ways to spend an evening is curled up on the sofa with a box set. Not surprisingly many of my favourite shows are in the crime and thriller niche – here are a few of the ones that had me sitting up until the small hours, vowing just one more episode…
I first learned about this brilliant Icelandic drama just before The Woman in Cabin 10 came out, and I was more than a little alarmed that my novel about a body (possibly) thrown overboard in the North Sea had been pipped to the post by a TV rival hinging on the exact same point. But when I finally got over my annoyance and sat down to watch it, I found there was nothing to worry about as the two couldn’t be more different.Trapped begins with a Danish ferry turning up in an isolated Icelandic port, just as a dismembered torso is dredged from the sea. As the weather closes in, and local police chief Hrafn desperately tries to stop the ferry from leaving town, tensions mount to breaking point making for a nail-biting finale. Trapped first aired a couple of years ago but a sequel is due very soon, making it the perfect time to climb on board.
London Spy (Netflix)
This came out a few years ago in the UK but is now available on Netflix and deserves to be better known, at least for Ben Whishaw’s mesmeric performance. Party animal Danny meets and befriends the enigmatic Alex one early morning. Their connection quickly develops into something more, but is tragically cut short when Danny discovers Alex’s dead body and realises that everything he thought he knew about his lover is a lie, not least the fact that he was actually working for MI6. From that point on the plot explodes into a complicated web of espionage and paranoia, as Danny strives to uncover the truth about Alex’s death, and the powers that be attempt to thwart him. Unspooling over five episodes, the rest of the series occasionally has trouble living up to its brilliant start, but it’s genuinely compelling and Ben Whishaw is compulsively watchable.
Big Little Lies (HBO)
If you haven’t seen this you must have been living under a rock, but if by any chance you haven’t caught up yet, DO IT, is my advice! Liane Moriarty’s highly successful book has been brilliantly transposed from Australia to California, with an all-star cast who turn in some heart-stopping performances. Maybe it’s because I’m a crime writer, but I figured out the big reveal fairly early on, but somehow that didn’t spoil my enjoyment in the least. I roared through all seven episodes, so invested in the characters and the outcome that I watched with my heart in my mouth, desperate for them to be ok. (And to find out if I was right, of course!) A sequel is in the works, and I genuinely cannot imagine where they are going to go with it, but I can’t wait to find out.
This isn’t exactly a thriller, I know. In fact, if it were a book, it would be squarely shelved in the sci-fi section. However, it uses some of the best-known tropes of the crime and thriller genre to fantastic effect. There’s the woman with a mission to find out what’s really going on, there’s the silent baddie stalking his prey, there’s the good man struggling against impossible odds, there’s secrets, lies, and unreliable memories – and, above all, there is the most excellent, can’t-possibly-spoil-it-for-you twist. If you’re someone who thinks they don’t like sci-fi, I’d urge you to give it a try. Because if you love relatable characters, a story that keeps you guessing and a twist that flips the whole thing upside down… well, you’ll find it here.
Ordeal by Innocence (Amazon)
This is the third in a trio of Agatha Christies scripted for the BBC by Sarah Phelps, each of which triumphantly challenges the cosy reputation of the Queen of Crime to produce fantastically chilly, brilliantly acted and classily directed mini-series. Out of the three, Ordeal by Innocence is probably the least faithful to the book, not least the lead character, who changes from a self-assured doctor to a nervous young man, fresh from some kind of mental health treatment. The brilliant premise however is the same – a year after the event, Arthur Calgary stumbles across news of a murder trial in which the alibi of the accused rested on his evidence. At the time Calgary was untraceable; now however he is able to confirm the story – only to find that Jack Argyll was condemned and died in prison. Nevertheless, determined to posthumously clear Jack’s name, he approaches the Argylls, expecting to be welcomed with open arms. The reality is very different – Jack’s innocence means one of the living Argylls must be guilty… With some nerve-shredding set pieces and a sense of palpable menace, this is spell-binding TV, and fodder for an excellent “who plotted it better” book vs screen discussion.
For more from Ruth, read her spellbinding new thriller, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, available now.