Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Published: July 2, 2019
Jules Larsen does not have an enviable life. In fact, her life is decidedly a raging dumpster fire. She’s lost her job and she’s lost her boyfriend – and all in one day. She’s got no family to lean on, no money in the bank and no prospects on the horizon that might help pull her out of the hole she’s found herself in. Living on her best friends couch with a bleak outlook on the future Jules seems to have hit rock bottom. But that’s the thing about “rock bottom” isn’t it? Once you’re there, there’s no where to go but up.
Because here’s the thing about being poor—most people don’t understand it unless they’ve been there themselves. They don’t know what a fragile balancing act it is to stay afloat and that if, God forbid, you momentarily slip underwater, how hard it is to resurface.
When the opportunity of a lifetime seems to fall in Jules’ lap (by way of a classified ad) she leaps at the opportunity. The prestigious, mysterious Bartholomew Apartment Complex has a new opening for an apartment sitter and she’s just the girl they’ve been looking for. While someone who wasn’t desperate for work and a place of their own might side eye the million and one rules Jules barely thinks twice. Is it a big deal you’re not allowed visitors? I mean, how much does she really want to stay out of the apartment (even for one night) anyway? So you’re not allowed to talk to the other tenants – they’re rich and famous so that makes since…right?
Jules quickly makes friends with another apartment sitter, Ingrid, who lives directly below her. Ingrid seems nice, if not a little skittish and maybe a little scared. But what does Ingrid have to be afraid of? Maybe that fear wasn’t as misplaced as Jules thought when Ingrid goes missing. Still reeling from the disappearance of her sister years ago and with striking similarities to her, Jules can’t let Ingrid’s disappearance go unresolved. So she dives head first into the rabbit hole that is the mysterious Bartholomew, it’s reclusive tenants and it’s many rules. She just didn’t realize when she did it, that she was biting off a lot more than she could chew.
The elevator resembles a birdcage. The tall, ornate kind – all thin bars and gilded exterior. I even think of birds as I step inside. Exotic and bright and lush. Everything I’m not.
I don’t know what it is about Sager that really keeps me coming back for more. I absolutely adored his first novel Final Girls but was left a bit disappointed by his follow up The Last Time I Lied. I was hopeful that this third novel would sway me back to singing his praises but unfortunately this one fell a little flat for me. Sager has a unique “slow burn” style that I really enjoyed in Final Girls but has since not really worked for me. The key to a slow burn is that it’s finale really blows you away (pun intended) and while I wont say the ending here was without any surprise I also wont say that I felt more than a firecracker level of explosiveness.
There were a lot of aspects I enjoyed about this novel that fall right in line with Sagers writing style. His character development, for me, always shines brightly among many thriller/mystery novels that let their characters fall to the wayside in favor of twists that don’t make a lot of sense. Sager creates comprehensive and cohesive stories that have plot holes that are few and far between. His stories are clearly thought out and well developed. That being said, I didn’t think I was picking up contemporary fiction, I picked up a book billed as a thriller or a mystery and I was decidedly un-thrilled.
Do you think it’s possible for a place to be haunted, even if there aren’t any ghosts there? Because that’s what it feels like to me. Like the Bartholomew is haunted by its history. Like all the bad stuff that’s ever happened there has accumulated like dust and now floats in the air.
Overall, I enjoyed the atmosphere of this novel and I’ll definitely be picking up Sager’s next novel because despite the last two flopping a little for me I still have faith and really enjoy his writing. The characters and setting here are what really shined for me, I was just hoping for a little more…oomph out of the ending. This one ended in a way that felt a bit like watching a scary movie and the music is the only thing really getting your heart racing. You know you’re supposed to be thrilled but you’re just not quite there yet.
Suggested For: Fans of Riley Sager, those who enjoy slow burn mystery/thrillers, those who enjoy more character versus plot driven mystery/thrillers.
Music Mood: Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson
Have you read Lock Every Door? If so, what did you think? Do explosive endings in mystery/thriller books matter to you? What are some of your favorite endings? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!