Title: Lock Every Door
Author: Riley Sager
Book 15 of 2021
Reading Time: 3hrs 36mins
Date Finished: April 20, 2021
Content Warnings: Manipulation, kidnapping, physical violence
What Worked For Me: Contained setting, short timeline
What Didn’t Work For Me: Some of the twists
I was on a quest earlier this year to catch up with all of Riley Sager’s books. And I did that by finishing this! Then…he released another book three months later. BUT ANYWAYS. I finished this and I think it ranks 3rd out of the four books I’ve read so far.
The story follows Jules, a young woman who has no money and no place to live. She finds an offer to live in an elite New York City apartment for a hefty sum of money. No talking to the neighbors, no inviting friends over, no spending nights away from the apartment. The only problem is that the building has always been rumored to have a dangerous history. When another apartment sitter disappears, Jules discovers that it’s not the first time someone has gone missing here.
Something I really enjoy about Sager’s books is the short time frame in which they take place. This one and Home Before Dark have a sort of count down to the final day where we know something bad has happened. Not only is this a clever way to up the intensity of a story, but it also makes every chapter super intentional. Nothing can be filler if we only have a limited amount of time to figure out what’s going on. I think his newest book, Survive the Night, also kind of fits into this trope? Not sure though, but I do have a weird delayed ARC of it that I hope to get to by the end of the year.
The first thing that stood out to me while reading is how incredibly dumb and dangerous it would be to apartment-sit in a strange for $12,000 over four months. And then I thought about it a bit more and realized that if I were desperate enough, it’s the kind of thing I’d seriously consider. Although, as a woman, I think I’d honestly try bargaining for more money if I’m going to be risking my life and safety to apartment-sit. Especially in New York City, $12,000 doesn’t actually go very far. I’d have them double it at the very least.
While the premise and story were fun to read, the twists were quite lackluster to me. I predicted pretty much every single one and felt that the final twist could have been much more intense if it went the route of the red herring. It’s not that this was a bad book or anything. But coming off the back of The Last Time I Lied, my favorite Sager book and a brilliant mystery, this one was kind of disappointing. The fact that I knew who the villains were from the first few chapters made me want more from the story as a whole.
Thinking back on it, nothing particularly stands out in either a good or bad way. The 4 stars are because I have great admiration for Sager’s pacing and knowing that all of this takes place within a week (I think? I don’t quite remember). I was entertained the whole time, save for the end when it was clear that I wouldn’t be surprised by anything. But the book itself wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t the perfect fit for me. Unfortunately, I think this is the most forgettable of his work and I rarely hear anyone talking about it. That being said, not a bad entry-level mystery.