BOOK CLUB: Zero Days

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“Zero Days” by Ruth Ware is a fantastic crime thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. I read it in a sitting; despite twigging to some of the solution before Ware revealed it, I still found this unputdownable.

Jack and her husband Gabe are penetration specialists – they break into companies, both physically and digitally, in order to find the gaps in their security. They’ve got an interesting collection of quasi-legal skills, but they work on the side of the law.

In this profession, when things go wrong they tend to really go wrong. A routine assignment goes sideways, and Jack arrives home exhausted and mildly frustrated, to find Gabe dead. It’s immediately clear it was no accident, and not much longer before it becomes obvious that it was a deliberate, planned killing.

Jack is still struggling with her grief and shock when she realizes that the police are treating her as their main suspect. Which means they’re not looking for anyone else, and Gabe’s real killer might escape. Jack doesn’t really care what happens to herself, but she will not stand by and watch her husband’s murderer walk away scot free. She goes on the run, determined to identify the killer before the police catch up with her.

There is nothing extraordinary about this plot – you’ve probably read many variations on it. That’s probably why I grasped some elements of the solution well before it was revealed. However, the combination of strong characters and well written action keeps this compelling. 

The actions which lead up to Gabe’s murder are original. I doubt many readers will guess this aspect of what’s going on. When revealed, the motivations and actions are highly believable. Some thrillers are far fetched or simply unconvincing around motivating causes – not here.

Jack is the primary character. She narrates the novel, so we see everyone and everything from her perspective. She’s an incredibly empathetic character. Her grief is realistically depicted, but readers will also admire her grit, her determination, and her smarts. There’s a reason she’s good at her job, and she brings all those skills to bear on staying free and finding Gabe’s murderer.

Ware is an experienced writer – her most recent novel, “The It Girl” was equally memorable. It is no surprise that the writing flows easily, drawing you through the story with sharp descriptions, great pacing, and believable action.

This is one of those rare novels that seems impervious to criticism. The details of the plot are carefully worked out, with no inconsistencies or gaps.  The characters will engage readers quickly, both emotionally and out of sheer interest in what they’re going to do next. Action is vividly conveyed, and technical information is credible.

Most importantly, I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was a great read, entertaining and interesting, and readers of both thrillers and crime should find it absorbing.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Zero Days by Ruth WareYou can read their comments below, or add your own review.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Zero Days

  1. New to author Ruth Ware I was pleasantly surprised by how fast I found myself immersed in crime novel Zero Days.
    From the very first page I found myself on an adrenalin fueled thrill ride in a race against time to prove Jack’s (Jacintha) innocence after the murder of her husband Gabe. Jack and Gabe are hired by companies as penetration specialists. One assignment goes horribly wrong and Jack returns home to find Gabe slumped in front of his computer dead. Being the only suspect Jack (now a fugitive) goes on the run and must try to not only figure out who she can really trust, try to survive but prove her innocence before time runs out and find the killer.
    This is a must read for fans of Ruth Ware and readers new to her books.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace Bookclub and Gallery/Scout Press for my copy of Zero Days.

  2. Wow! Zero Days by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster) is a thoroughly engrossing and thrilling read – truly action packed.

    The plot centers around Jacinta or ‘Jack’ (as her friends call her) and her husband Gabe, highly skilled ‘pen testers, who test out the physical and online security of businesses. Jack’s talents tend to the physical access/ ease of break in side, whereas Gabe is the tech-savvy one who checks for a company’s digital vulnerabilities. They make a great team both on and off the job. And Gabe is always the voice in Jack’s earpiece when she is on site. He monitors things from behind his computer screen, letting her know when silent alarms are triggered, or where the quickest exit is. However on their latest job, things go from bad to worse and when Jack returns home from the job she finds Gabe slumped over his computer, his throat slashed!!

    What follows is a nightmare for Jack particularly when it becomes clear that Gabe’s death is not a random bungled burglary but a preplanned hit, and framing her for his murder, has been meticulously well planned… and by someone who knows them very well.

    The police are convinced she is the perpetrator and Jack soon realises that to find her husband’s killer she will have to conduct her own investigation. She goes on the run, using all her escape skills to evade the police, and her sleuthing skills to find out who is behind it all. Her prime motivation is to avenge her husband’s death as not only was he her work mate, he was the love of her life.

    Although I was convinced of the identity of the killer fairly early on, there was still plenty of tension to keep me firmly engrossed as Jack finally uncovers who has destroyed her world, how it was done, and why. Indeed the stresses Jack endures and the depth of emotion she feels makes her predicament particularly compelling.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found I could not put it down – it is an action packed page turner!

  3. Zero Days by British author Ruth Ware is a gloriously written murder mystery with wit and suspense that will keep readers hooked until the end.

    Husband and wife team Jacintha Cross (Jack) and Gabriel Medway (Gabe)} of Crossways Security work as pen testers; short for penetration testers. They are seen as the best in the business and hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, examining the target website or system for weaknesses, and open-source vulnerabilities.

    Whist on an assignment at Arden Alliance Gabe guides Jack through the building to the servers, with a few tense moments due to floor plans being changed and security hot on her heels she stealthy completes the job and walks out of the building. Telling Gabe to go home ahead of her only to find herself in a predicament, their test does not go as expected and Jack is caught by security and taken to the police station for questioning.

    Finally, after 4am Jack arrives home only to be hit by the smell of blood, she finds Gabe lying in a pool of blood deceased. Jack becomes the prime suspect after her fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. Before she can be interrogated and possibly convicted, she hits the streets to start her own investigation and clear her name. Will she find Gabe’s killer?

    Ruth Ware’s characters make the story come to life and give it authenticity, they are wonderfully developed, relatable, multilayered, and incredibly likable. I felt an instant connection with the protagonist Jack and loved her immediately, she is a kick-ass lady, intelligent and gifted. That was my first sign I was going to love the book.

    The narrative is expressive making it easy for me to imagine each scene and feel the emotions of the characters. There are several potential suspects, each with a strong enough motive to kill the victim Gabe. Clues and information trickle in as the story unfolds, which will make some readers eager to connect the dots and perhaps draw an early conclusion on who the real culprit is.

    I enjoyed the dynamic plot with plenty of twists, the scenarios and situations with carefully structured tension makes it an impactful read. Zero Days is like watching your favourite action-packed movie, right from the start you will be lured in. I highly recommend.

    Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review.

  4. Many thanks to Beauty And Lace and Simon & Schuster for my copy to read and review.

    Jack and her husband Gabe break into buildings for a living to test the security systems. After finishing a job Jack finally makes it home to find Gabe murdered.
    She becomes prime suspect and takes off from the police station to uncover the truth.

    I enjoyed this book as I love a good thriller and this one kept me interested all the way through.

    I liked Jack as a character. She was brave and strong particularly as she was alone most of the time unsure who she could trust.

  5. If something bad happens to you, who would you turn to? Who could you trust? Would you ask your friends for help or are they the ones who got you into trouble in the first place??? This was a great story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and you won’t want to put it down. It had a really satisfying ending as well. This is the second book I’ve read by Ruth Ware and it didn’t disappoint. I will definitely look out for more of her books to read. Thank you Beauty and Lace for another great book to review >:o)

  6. ZERO DAYS By Ruth Ware.
    For lovers of crime and murder mysteries your going to love this book .
    The main character is Jack who is married to Gabe her husband, they work together hired by companies to break into buildings and hack there security systems.
    Everything is going great until one night Jack goes by herself on an assignment which should of been straight forward while Gabe stayed home and manned the phone and computer.
    While Jack is out doing what she does best she is caught and taken to the police station for questioning but as she trys to explain who she is and works for little be known to Jack ,Gabe has been murdered at his desk his throat had been slashed with his own knife which was a wedding gift.
    When Jack has finally been cleared to go home the reality sets in when she walks in and finds Gabe slumped over his computer with a big pool of blood all around him . Gabe was dead he had been murdered, Jack went into shock and layed on the lounge until she could dial emergency.
    Jack is now a suspect in the murder, while Gabes killer is out there somewere.
    What is she to do she decides to go on the run who can she trust ?
    She needs to clear her name and find Gabes killer.
    I liked the long chapters and picking up were you left off was easy to continue .
    Thankyou beauty and lace I really enjoyed this thriller / murder mystery .

  7. I am a big fan of Ruth Ware’s writing and Zero Days did not disappoint! It is a very well written book with lots of tension, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves thrillers.
    The narrative takes place over eight days, counting down to zero. A lot happens during this time.
    Jack and her husband have a business that tests security protocols for organisations. Gabe runs the tech side while Jack attempts to gain admittance to buildings and wreak potential havoc. After one such night-time excursion, Jack returns home to find her husband has been murdered and she becomes a suspect. The next seven days are spent on the run while Jack doesn’t know who she can trust. Despite being severely injured, she manages to escape detection. Her grief, pain and determination are strongly narrated and I felt all of Jack’s emotions.
    The tension is maintained throughout and I found myself holding my breath as I read. It is fast-paced, emotions and stakes are high, and it was hard to put down. Ruth Ware has done extensive research into computer technology, security, the dark web and communications. Thank you B&L and Simon & Schuster for the chance to read this fabulous book.

  8. Zero Days by Ruth Ware has to be one of my favourite reads for this year. Mystery crime thrillers are not my usual genre of choice but this was a totally un-put-downable immersive read.
    Jack and her husband Gabe work in an unusual field that requires a great deal of physicality and attention to detail. Thankfully Jack is very good at her job and she relies on those very skills and abilities when the unthinkable happens and she needs them the most in her personal life.
    Lots of suspense and twists and turns with unexpected outcomes at times. I enjoyed the unusual backstory, believable characters and Ruth Ware’s writing style which kept me totally captivated and wanting to read ‘just one more chapter’ until the end.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review Zero Days, I loved it.

  9. Zero Days by Ruth Ware was a real page turner. It’s suspenseful even though I thought I worked out who the killer was it didn’t take anything away from the book the excitement and thrill was still there once you started it was hard to put it down.

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