“What was going on? Were you running away?”
“No,” I say. “I escaped.”
Riley Sager books officially always go on my TBR list. If his second book The Last Time I Lied didn’t solidify that, then Lock Every Door definitely did. A combination of creepy old buildings, Manhattan, and Gothic feels?! Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Lock Every Door
By Riley Sager
Publish Date: July 2, 2019
Read Date: June 2019
Format: e-book galley
Genre: Gothic, horror, thriller
Page Count: 384 pages
Rating: 5/5 Moose
Jules Larsen has recently lost her job, broke up with her cheating boyfriend, and only has about $500 to her name. Thus when a long term apartment sitting job appears in a Craigslist ad, she jumps at the opportunity. Even better, she finds out it’s at the Bartholomew, one of the most prestigious and famous buildings in Manhattan. Though maybe not famous for the best reasons. The rules seem a little strict, the guests a little quirky, but the other apartment sitters are interesting enough. Until they start talking about the dark past of the Bartholomew. And then go missing.
Jules Larsen – The Bartholomew’s newest apartment sitter. She has recently lost her job, broke up with her boyfriend, and her family is all but gone.
Ingrid – The apartment sitter in the apartment below Jules. She reminds Jules of her sister. Goes missing shortly after Jules starts at the Bartholomew.
Nick – The doctor that lives in the apartment next to Jules. Very cute, very young, definitely comes from money.
Greta Manville – The author of Heart of a Dreamer, a fiction book that takes place in the Bartholomew. She also happens to be a resident of the building.
Rants, Raves, and Reviews
There is something about haunted, dark, creepy buildings that are in Manhattan that I just love. Something about being in the middle of everything yet completely locked away and secretive, in gorgeously ornate old buildings that just are perfect. Basically, it didn’t take me long to opt in for Sager’s new book.
It even looked like one–tall and imposing, with gargoyles gracing the walls. It was the Manhattan version of a palace, inhabited by the city’s elite.
And truly, in some ways, it really didn’t disappoint. Sager is excellent at building a tense and Gothic atmosphere. All of his books are slow burns, and Lock Every Door is not an exception. Jules accepts a position that pays $12,000 in three months, all under the table, and gives her a place to live rent free. To someone who has student loans, lost her job and apartment…hell if I lost my job tomorrow, I would consider it. Even if it does seem to be too good to be true. Even if it does come with stipulations such as no guests, no nights away from the apartment. Also, don’t bother the tenants, no matter how famous they may be or no matter how much they may be your idol.
That’s not that weird….is it?
“Then you need to be careful,” she says. “This place isn’t kind to gentle souls. It chews them up and swallows them whole.”
“Do you mean New York or the Bartholomew?”
“Both,” she says.
Throughout the book we explore Jules’s dark past as well. We know up front she’s an orphan, and her sister has been missing for years. This fact alone is what pushes her to continue to look for Ingrid after she goes missing. That desire and drive to find Ingrid is frantic and obsessive, even before she realizes more people have gone missing over the years. Is it worth it, or is it even healthy? Depends on if you think the apartment building is evil or not. But really, Jules isn’t okay. I’m not sure how okay you can be in her situation, but her use of fire to self harm… I understand that. Especially as someone who hates sharp things.
There is one situation in the book that rubbed me the wrong way. It read a bit more fan-fictiony to me and took me out of the story a bit. At one point Jules’s ex comes to see her at the apartment and won’t leave despite her persistence. As cute doctor Nick comes into the lobby, Jules pretends he’s her new boyfriend and kisses him. While I am all for finding a fake friend when guys are harassing you (seriously, I am a big proponent of “if you need someone to pretend to be your friend to keep the creepy guy away from you, I’m here”), but laying a big kiss on the next door neighbor you’ve known for a couple of days? Who you’ve maybe met once or twice? I would have honestly preferred that Charlie the doorman step in to save her.
I guess my feelings are if you have to do something ridiculously big that would make more sense in a romance book, it may come across that way too. Either way, I still enjoyed the book overall, especially as I wondered and hoped that Nick would be the one to help her save the day.
The clock is ticking on figuring out what the secret of the Bartholomew is, if there is one to find out. Go explore, and be prepared!
So what is going on in the apartment building? Is there a dark secret? A murder mystery? Something supernatural? The twist of this book seems to be a sticking point for a lot of reviewers. I personally enjoyed it, as I have the other Sager books. I think he’s gotten better with each one. If you like slow burn thrillers, even if the whole book takes place over a week, then give this book a shot.