Sunday, October 3, 2021

REVIEW: Lock Every Door (book) by Riley Sager

Lock Every Door is a thriller. Or maybe a modern gothic? I bought my copy brand new.


Jules has hit rock bottom and has run out of options. She's been crashing at a friend's place ever since she caught her boyfriend cheating on her. No boyfriend, no home, and also no job. It's desperation that prompts her to respond to an ad for an apartment sitter, and once she sees the building she's sure she'll be turned down. The place is in the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most famous buildings and the setting for Jules' absolute favorite book.

It's like a dream come true. For three months she'll be making $4,000 a month to live in an amazing apartment. The only catch seems to be the rules that all apartment sitters are required to follow: no spending the night away from the apartment, no visitors (not even family members, not that Jules has any anymore), no talking to the residents unless they say something first, and no mentioning the Bartholomew on social media. Okay, so maybe the setup seems a little fishy, but rich people are weird and it's not inconceivable that they'd be willing to pay someone to watch out for an apartment and their stuff. Plus, that $12,000 would really help Jules out.

Unfortunately, the building has secrets, and it doesn't take long for it to turn into Jules' worst nightmare.

No, it was not the smartest decision in the world to take this "too good to be true" job. That said, I could understand Jules' desperation. There comes a point when you say to yourself "Yes, this is probably a bad idea, but doing something is better than doing nothing, and surely I can make this work out." Famous last words.

Jules had no family. Her sister disappeared years ago and was never found. Her parents died in a fire. Her only safety net was her friend Chloe, and she wanted to avoid outstaying her welcome. Accepting the apartment sitting job at the Bartholomew seemed like a relatively painless way to get a fresh start, and it didn't hurt that Jules had a bit of a personal connection to the building. It also reassured her to learn that she wasn't the only apartment sitter working there.

Of course, things quickly got creepy, and I spent some time wondering just how supernatural the revelations would be. I had a pretty solid guess as to what was going on when I was only two thirds of the way through. As it turned out, my guess was pretty close, although things didn't get quite as bonkers as I'd expected.

Overall, I loved the atmosphere, and I'm glad that Sager somehow managed to end things on a satisfying note (although I'd understand if some readers considered the ending to be too neat and tidy). I will say, however, that Jules did more than a few things that frustrated me. Again, some of it was understandable - she'd spent a huge chunk of her life thinking about her sister's disappearance, so it wasn't surprising that she'd obsess over an apartment sitter's sudden disappearance. But the message she left on one character's phone was a horrible idea, especially considering what she'd learned up to that point.

I think I'm going to have to try another one of Sager's books sometime.

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