It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that I loved Riley Sager’s latest suspense novel. If you’ve read my glowing reviews of his past novels Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied you’ll know I am a massive fan of this brilliant author. His novels never fail to be intricately plotted, filled with compelling characters, and so packed with twists and turns that it’s almost impossible to predict what’s going to happen. In a genre filled with interesting writers and stories, Sager stands out because of his dedication to delivering out-of-the-box narratives.
Just like his past two novels, Sager’s new installment is about a young woman who becomes wrapped up in a mystery. Jules Larsen is broke and newly single when she takes a job as an apartment sitter at a famed New York building called The Bartholomew. The setting of one of Jules’ favourite novels, the Bartholomew is old and spellbindingly beautiful, offering views of Central Park and serving as the home of a variety of eccentric, wealthy residents. Despite a series of strange rules that come along with her new position - she can’t have visitors, she can’t spend a night away from the building, and she can’t initiate conversations with fellow residents - Jules is excited for the job because of its high pay. But what at first seems like a fairy tale quickly becomes a nightmare when one of the other apartment sitters working in the building disappears in the middle of the night. Desperate to find her new friend, Jules discovers that The Bartholomew’s storied history is much darker than it seems and finds herself dragged into a terrifying and life-altering series of events.
Lock Every Door is incredibly atmospheric. The Bartholomew, with its gargoyle statues and clawfoot tubs and high ceilings, is the ideal setting for a suspense novel. Through Sager’s description of the building it seems plausible that there’s a secret hidden around every corner. The novel also thrives because of Jules, a character so richly developed it’s hard to believe she isn’t real. Jules’ desire to solve the mysteries in the Bartholomew, which most people would choose to ignore, is explained by her haunted past and constant need to rectify situations. She’s a likeable and relatable lead character, even when she makes questionable choices and displays bad judgment. You’ll find yourself rooting for her as she races to find her fellow apartment sitter.
Sager also writes compelling and highly believable dialogue, demonstrating a knack for capturing the way people talk in real life on paper. The conversations between his characters, who are usually tangled in messy and far-fetched mysteries, keeps his stories grounded and human. Like the two leading ladies before her, Jules is an inherently normal person. Despite her bizarre background and the mess she’s found herself in now, she’s easy to connect with as a reader and her story doesn’t feel forced.
If you’re looking for a high quality mystery for fall, this is the book I’d recommend. It’s engrossing and luxuriant and will keep you reading into late in the night. Like all of Sager’s books you’ll never guess the twists that wait within its pages, and you’ll feel genuinely shocked at each new discovery.