Book: Lock Every Door
Author: Riley Sager
I never gave thrillers much thought till a few manuscripts came to me for editing and I realised I completely enjoyed them. The only problem – if the book turns out to be good I find myself unable to put it down and that completely upsets my routine. Now if I find a highly recommended thriller I make sure I have a day or two at my disposal when I begin reading. That’s worked out fine for me.
And that’s how I began reading Lock Every Door on a relaxed Friday.
Life hasn’t being good to Jules Larson. First, her sister disappears then she loses her parents in an accident. Even as she’s trying to make peace with all of that she’s let go from her job. She comes home to find her boyfriend cheating on her and her life falls apart completely. She’s been rooming in with her friend Chloe when she spots an ad for an apartment-sitter in the poshest apartment complex of Manhattan – The Bartholomew. The building houses the richest and the most famous people who value their privacy above all else. The money is very very good but there are few rules to be followed – no night-outs, no visitors, no talking to the other residents. They seem simple enough, if a little weird, and a bankrupt, desperate, Jules accepts them eagerly. She looks upon it as the ‘reset button’ for her life.
Soon, however, she realises all is not right at the Bartholomew. It’s an indefinable feeling she can’t quite reason out. Is it prompted by the gargoyle at her window on the facade of the building? Is it the strange wallpaper design in her apartment? Is it the unexplained noises at night? Or is it just her imagination fuelled by Chloe’s warnings and media stories that insist that the building is cursed?
Then a fellow apartment-sitter, Ingrid, disappears and Jules cannot but begin to investigate.
What I loved
The most interesting part of the book is that barely anything scary actually happened for much of the early part of the book. And yet I was on edge waiting for something to happen, trying to read between the lines, urging Jules on to look around, to be careful, maybe even to get out. Part of me wanted her to find out if Bartholomew really was cursed or haunted, and if yes, why. The other part wanted Jules to stay away from everything, get her money and leave. I could see why she’d want to hang around despite the warning signals.
Bartholomew reminded me a little bit of Rebecca’s Manderley. It has a character of its own as much as its inmates. I loved the way Sager describes it. The gothic structure, its air of opulence, the luxurious apartments, the secrecy, the snobbish flat owners – it all comes together in an intriguing mix.
I liked Jules. I felt her closeness to her sister and her heartbreak at her disappearance. Which is why I could understand her desperation to find Ingrid.
Lock Every Door isn’t a pacey read yet the tension keeps one hooked.
Last thought: If you’re looking for an edge-of-the-seat atmospheric thriller, this one’s for you.