* This review does not contain any spoilers *
No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. 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.
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HOW I WENT INTO IT
I had read one of Riley Sager’s other books, Final Girls, and loved it. So I was excited to try out more of this author’s books. I barely knew anything about the plot but was hoping that it would be unique since I have been reading so many books in this genre this year.
The setting for this thriller was AMAZING. It’s so funny how much setting of the Bartholomew, the spooky sketchy apartment building, actually stole the show for me in this book. A little over a week after reading it I don’t remember any of the characters’ names, but I think you could ask me the name of the building a year from no and I would still know it. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been this impressed by a place in a book (as far as thrillers go). It was really atmospheric and I could totally just picture what it would be like to live there.
I think there were just the right amount of characters in this. Kind of a random thing to comment on, but I personally really hate it when thrillers introduce you to a huge cast of characters. It can be so confusing and often there’s not enough time with each character to actually make them interesting. This book follows one main character who has one friend and meets a handful of residents in the apartment, some kind, some mysterious. This is a really subjective point but for me, thrillers always work best when we just focus on a small group of people.
The main character was quite likable compared to those in other mystery/thriller books. In this genre, often our MC’s are not the most likable people, which I actually don’t mind. I can really enjoy reading from an unlikeable character, but it was a nice change to be able to root for someone.
THE (SEMI) NEGATIVES
It could have been more thrilling. This is the type of mystery thriller where the MC slowly starts to see how things don’t add up, goes to ‘investigate’, and then slowly uncovers some hidden truths. There is quite a lot of action and in the end, what was going on was quite messed up. It just wasn’t the most ‘edge of your seat’ experience. I don’t completely know how I feel about that. Generally, I think it worked out quite well because it wasn’t boring by any means and the creepy atmosphere made up for a lot. However, I can understand how this would be disappointing if you’re expecting to feel a lot of suspense or be spooked.
Some things were quite convenient. This is probably one of the hardest things to do in a mystery/thriller, make the character figure out things in a way that is believable. They always have to be a little lucky or a little too smart. It wasn’t too bad, but just enough for me to notice and question how the heck she managed to work some of these things out.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I enjoy Riley Sager’s writing, the plot was interesting enough, the characters were fun, and the setting was amazing. It wasn’t the most thrilling or shocking thing I’ve read but I can definitely live with that.
RECOMMENDING IT TO YOU
I’d recommend this if you want to read thrillers but can’t get invested without a somewhat likable main character. Or if you’re looking for something different, something a bit more slow and atmospheric. However, I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for the edge of your seat thriller experience.
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