Skip to Main Content

About The Book

The New York Times bestselling “new Agatha Christie” (Air Mail) Ruth Ware returns with this adrenaline-fueled thriller that combines Mr. and Mrs. Smith with The Fugitive about a woman in a race to clear her name and find her husband’s murderer.

Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband, Gabe, are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her despair, the police are closing in on their suspect—her.

Suddenly on the run and quickly running out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust as she circles closer to the real killer in this unputdownable and heart-pounding mystery from an author whose “propulsive prose keeps readers on the hook and refuses to let anyone off until all has been revealed” (Shelf Awareness).

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for ZERO DAYS includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Ruth Ware. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

The New York Times bestselling “new Agatha Christie” (Air Mail) Ruth Ware returns with this adrenaline-fueled thriller that combines Mr. and Mrs. Smith with The Fugitive about a woman in a race against time to clear her name and find her husband’s murderer.

Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband, Gabe, are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their suspect—her.

Suddenly on the run and quickly running out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust as she circles closer to the real killer in this unputdownable and heart-pounding mystery from an author whose “propulsive prose keeps readers on the hook and refuses to let anyone off until all has been revealed” (Shelf Awareness).

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. ZERO DAYS marks a departure for Ruth Ware from her traditional locked-room mystery format and follows a more action-focused plot. If you have read other Ruth Ware novels in the past, how did you find ZERO DAYS different? How did you find it similar? Why do you think the author chose this path for this novel?

2. Jack and her husband, Gabe, are “penetration specialists” who are hired by companies to break into their headquarters and test their security systems. What character traits does Jack exhibit that you think make her good at this job? And why is this career path pivotal for Jack’s role in investigating Gabe’s death?

3. Throughout the book, Jack handles intense grief over the loss of Gabe while actively on the run from the police. How does this grief take a toll on her mentally throughout her journey? Physically?

4. Did you have any guesses as to why Gabe was targeted and murdered from the start of the book? Did you anticipate who the killer would be and if so, when did you start to suspect them?

5. The novel has a cat-and-mouse element to it, as Jack is on the run from two detectives, Malik and Miles, who are trying to track her down as a suspect in Gabe’s death. How do you think the story would unfold if it were told through Malik’s perspective?

6. Throughout the novel, Jack reflects on her former abusive relationship with Jeff, who instills in her a mistrust of the police. How does this inform Jack’s decisions to evade police (even officers from a different station) and embark on her own investigation when it comes to Gabe’s murder? How does her relationship to law enforcement change by the end of the book?

7. One of the most important dynamics within the story is Jack’s relationship with her sister, Hel. Hel helps Jack when she needs last-minute supplies and money to go on the run from the police, and is even willing to be put under arrest when one of Jack’s plans for seeking information goes awry. Do you have a relationship with a family member or friend where you could see them taking these kinds of risks for you in a dangerous situation? Would you do the same if you had a family member or friend in need of help?

8. How do the power dynamics change throughout the novel? When does it feel like Jack is in control of the mystery of Gabe’s murder? When does it feel like the detectives are in control? Jeff? Cole?

9. Jack uses Gabe’s social media accounts to spread the word about the dangers and risks of the “zero day exploit” that Gabe’s enemies are after. The power of social media helps to bring attention to the case and force the police to finally see someone other than Jack as a suspect. How do you think social media can help the public and law enforcement in the true crime field? Are there any drawbacks to using social media for this purpose?

10. Did you sympathize with Cole at all? Do you think he ever had good intentions as Gabe and Jack’s friend, or was he only ever motivated by money and power? What did you think of him making a move on Jack? Was he expressing true romantic feelings or just trying to distract her from the truth of what he did?

11. At the end of the novel, Jack unexpectedly discovers that she is pregnant with Gabe’s child. Did you ever suspect this twist throughout the story? If so, when did you start to think she might be pregnant? Why do you think the author made this choice for Jack’s character?

12. We learn about Cole’s role in Gabe’s death, but we never find out who the company or entity is behind Cole that forced him to target Gabe. Why do you think Ruth Ware chose to leave this a mystery?

13. With the story being centered around hacking, did it make you reflect on your personal online security? Would you have fallen for any of Jack's tricks and phishing?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Who would you cast in a movie or TV adaptation of ZERO DAYS? Discuss your choices with your group. Did you have any visual ideas of the characters in mind as you read?

2. Throughout the novel, Jack receives help from various strangers who show her kindness in a time of need. Recall a time when you were the recipient of a random act of kindness, and another time that you showed someone an act of kindness.

3. Because ZERO DAYS is so action-packed, come up with a couple of your favorite action movie recommendations to share with your group. Choose one to screen after your discussion of the book.

4. Do you think you would succeed in a career as a penetration specialist? What do you think are the greatest benefits and what are the biggest drawbacks?

About The Author

© Gemma Day Photography

Ruth Ware worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language, and a press officer before settling down as a full-time writer. She now lives with her family in Sussex, on the south coast of England. She is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail (Toronto) bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10The Lying GameThe Death of Mrs. WestawayThe Turn of the KeyOne by One; The It Girl; and Zero Days. Visit her at RuthWare.com or follow her on X @RuthWareWriter.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press (June 20, 2023)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982155315

Browse Related Books

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Ruth Ware