Title: Lock Every Door
Authors: Riley Sager
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller
First Publication: 2019
Major Characters: Jules Larsen, Ingrid
No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. And no disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.
As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.
Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.
Book Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Flat broke, unemployed, and homeless, Jules Larsen, is thrilled to be selected to apartment sit for three months at the grand, historical Manhattan building, The Bartholomew. Not only is the twelfth floor apartment luxurious and spacious but it’s in a prime location on the Upper West side, overlooking Central Park. On top of that Jules will be paid $1000 a week for her trouble. Sounds like the ultimate, doesn’t it? But pretty soon The Bartholomew will become Jules’ worst nightmare, from which there is no escape.
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager contains all the horror and gothic tropes that I love in this type of story – ominous dreams, strange noises at night, cryptic notes, secret nooks and crannies, a combination of unfriendly and over friendly neighbours, mysterious and sudden disappearances, and that’s just for starters. The creepy, picturesque setting of The Bartholomew was as glamorous and seductive as it was eerie and claustrophobic, and as you would expect has a cursed history, of suspicious deaths.
“Never take anything you haven’t earned, my father used to say. You always end up paying for it one way or another.”
Lock Every Door has an intriguing premise. The plot is steady throughout, and as is very common in psychological thrillers these days, we’re introduced to two timelines. The present day, where Jules has awoken after a car accident in which she got into after “escaping” the Bartholomew. And one to a week or two earlier, when she first accepts the job as an apartment sitter, all bright eyed and filled with hope.
Even though most of the book takes place over a 5 day period, It’s a slow burn, with Jules excitement and gratefulness over scoring such a fantastic apartment morphing into fight or flight, her fear increasing the deeper she delves into the dark recesses of The Bartholomew. Trapped due to her dire financial circumstances, Jules feels she has few options, and is determined to stick it out, when most of us in the same circumstances would have fled.
“Every so often, life offers you a reset button. When it does, you need to press it as hard as you can.”
Riley Sager has a style uniquely his own. Final Girls cleverly paid homage to horror/thriller films while The Last Time I Lied was complex, campy, atmospheric psychological suspense. With his newest novel, Lock Every Door, Riley Sager has written a very well-crafted thriller that’s beyond suspenseful!
Several of the twists I saw coming, and the baddies weren’t any great surprise, but the reveal of what was actually taking place behind locked doors was a shocker! It’s a light, not to be taken too seriously, read, but having said that does deal with some serious topics that will see you repulsed that there are people who think like that. Lock Every Door was kind of far-fetched, but in this case it worked – Riley Sager has a way of writing that sucks you in – resulting in an engrossing, entertaining, hard-to-put down read. Even the day-to-day routine of Jules as she settles into the apartment was conveyed in an interesting manner. Content wise, I would class it as thriller rather than horror – it’s neither scary nor gory.