Source: Review copy: Netgalley
Publication: 25th July 2019 from Ebury Press
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 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 sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers 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.
Lock Every Door is one of those books that grabs you by the collar and drags you with it into every dark corner of your mind. Gothic, creepy and disturbing, it is a book that gets right under the skin from the first few pages.
Broke and homeless after breaking up with her cheating boyfriend, Jules Larson answers an ad for a flat sitter. Going to her interview for the flat, she finds herself at the iconic Bartholomew building; a gothic luxury block of flats in a prestigious area of Manhattan.
The Bartholomew is home to the rich and famous who, as Julie is informed, relish their privacy. Whoever is selected to house sit here will have to abide by a strict set of rules. No speaking to the owners; no visitors of any kind; no overnight absences. In exchange, Julie will get a rent free luxury apartment and a handsome stipend while she is there.
Unable to believe her luck, Julie is delighted when the flat is offered to her and she moves in with alacrity. She finds the décor somewhat intimidating and the building’s gargoyles are a touch gruesome, but she names the one by her window and settles in to enjoy her marvellous good fortune.
Soon, Jules finds that she is not the only flat sitter in the building and she makes contact with Ingrid, another sitter who is really uneasy, almost scared by what she describes as weird goings-on.
Then Ingrid disappears. It seems that she did a runner in the middle of the night. Researching the Bartholomew’s history, Jules finds that the building has a sinister history. There have been numerous unexplained deaths and suicides and the building has gained something of a cult reputation among conspiracy theorists.
Ingrid’s disappearance adds to Jules’ growing sense of unease the longer she says in the apartment and curious, eerie sounds keep her awake into the small hours.
Sager builds a sense of growing tension, layering spooky goings-on with tension and a sense of menace in this compelling story of disappearing tenants, strange owner occupiers and a flat broker whose motives seem less than honourable.
The more Jules finds out, the more frightened she becomes…and soon she is embroiled in a fight for her life.
Sager neatly draws the reader into a world of wealth and privilege, contrasted with the lowly status of those flat sitters who have nothing and no-one to turn to. His writing is engrossing and he beautifully conveys a creeping sense of dread. The reader will need to embrace a certain suspension of disbelief, but when you do, Sager rewards you with a twisty tale that surprises and astonishes.
Verdict: A dark tale full of gothic menace, serious creepiness and dark doings. Not for those of a timid disposition and certainly not to be read alone and in the dark.
Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer. Now a full-time writer, Riley is the author of FINAL GIRLS, an international bestseller that has been published in 25 languages, and the New York Times bestseller THE LAST TIME I LIED.
A native of Pennsylvania, Riley now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.