I am aware that in my first blog entry I explained that most of the books I read are on audio book, about how I have no time to read hard copy books, and that I would do your laundry for the rest of your life if you could find an allowance in my schedule for sitting down and physically reading.
Well, boy, do I feel silly.
The truth is, I do prefer reading a book over listening to a book.
I prefer taking my time while I am reading so that I can absorb the author’s descriptions and let my mind create images for the characters and their surroundings. Even though you and I are reading the same description, I like the idea that our images are different, and I have imagined a little world that is special to me. And that you have imagined a world that is special to you.
I like the smell of a physical book, the sound they make when you set them down, and having complete focus on the words in front of me.
I can admit that these things are more difficult for me when I am listening to an audio book. I appreciate them very much for allowing me to work and read at the same time, however because I am usually multitasking while listening, I easily loose focus for a minute or two and get lost. This causes me skip backward in the story and re-listen, which can an annoyance to say the least. I worry that because of this, perhaps I am not fully hearing all of the details.
And lastly, since I am not seeing the words on a page, I have a more difficult time connecting to the story in a way where my mind builds the people and places, and that’s one of my favorite parts about reading!
So when I realized I was going to have a lot of downtime this weekend my boyfriend and I made a trip to the local book store.
Out of the handful of books I purchased, “Lock Every Door,” was one of them.
Life has always been hard for Jules, who goes about her daily routine haunted by her sister’s disappearance, which was then followed by the tragic death of her parents.
Moving forward from her past, Jules is in New York City with barely a hundred dollars to her name. Struggling to get by, she lost her secretarial job and her cheating turd of a boyfriend all on the same day. Can’t Jules just catch a damn break?
Miserable with her current situation of couch crashing and job surfing, she finds an ad on Craigslist for an apartment sitter; $12,000 for a 3 month stay in one of New York’s most elite, prestigious, and secretive apartment buildings, the Bartholomew. This sounds exactly like the break Jules needs, doesn’t it?
Warmly welcomed to The Bartholomew with a strict rule of “no bothering the tenants,” Jules is excited when she meets another temporary employee taking care of the apartment below, Ingrid.
But after hearing some distressing sounds coming from Ingrid’s apartment, Jules is horrified to find out that her new neighbor has mysteriously disappeared from the Bartholomew in the middle of the night. What’s even more concerning is that no one seems to be alarmed! Jules is starting to worry that the complex and it’s tenants are not as they seem.
With lingering regrets following her sister’s disappearance, Jules cannot help but tirelessly investigate Ingrid’s midnight departure, and what she discovers will change her life forever… That is, if she can stay alive long enough to tell the story.
A mystery that comes together like puzzle pieces.
Let me start by explaining that I have not read Riley Sager’s other writings.
According to my research, he had two very well received novels prior to “Lock Every Door.” His first book, “Final Girls,” and his second, “The Last Time I Lied,” seem to be favored in comparison to this new writing, as reported by a chunk of the reviews by his long term fan base. (Note: There were also a lot of his existing fans who loved “Lock Every Door.”)
I can only tell you that I loved this book and if a handful of his fans believe this was their least favorite, then I cannot wait to read his first two novels.
Remember how earlier I was telling you that I love reading a physical book and letting my mind illustrate the characters and their surroundings?
Riley Sager does an amazing job of describing the characters, but especially the Bartholomew. I felt like I could literally see the entire building; the lobby, stairwells, doors to tenant’s apartments, and every inch of Jules’ new digs. Whatever wasn’t detailed by Mr. Sager, I was able to create in my mind based off of the other information he provided. It was lovely, and it was the perfect amount of detail for me.
The character development and relationship building in the novel was impeccable. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know every single character; their joys, their failures, their flaws, and their strengths, but especially their quirks. And there are many.
While there were some very seemingly interesting characters I would’ve liked to know more about, I am not very upset that we didn’t.
After all was said and done, I firmly believe the book was rationed appropriately between the character that is the Bartholomew, the backstory and development of our lead, the intensifying feelings of alarm, distress, and fear, as well as the big picture mystery that is pieced together like a tabletop puzzle.
This book was literally a page turner, I read it in one day. I could not put it down. The slow build of increasing alarm and high tension had me unable to finish my night without completing this novel. I was not going to allow myself to sleep without wrapping it up. It has been a long time since I have felt that strongly about the need to finish a book.
But it wasn’t perfect.
Of course our leading lady, Jules, makes a stupid decision or two from time to time. But honestly… who doesn’t?
There have been a small handful of books that I have read where our main character did everything I would’ve done. While this can be refreshing if it is well executed, it doesn’t always make for an interesting or thought provoking story. It’s true that there are some characters in some books that are just downright frustratingly stupid, but I did not feel that way about Jules.
Sometimes we just make dumb and mindless mistakes! Ones that we instantly regret. Other times we are just so focused on one thing that we’re not thinking straight. Jules’ personality flaws and blind desire for truth were things that I admired and could identify with.
I also felt like some of the pieces may have come together a little too easily. Trust me, I’d love to sit here and tell you that “I always solve mysteries well before the end of the book,” and that “I am just too good at figuring things out”… But that’s just not true. And with that being said, I definitely had a few things pegged down pretty quickly.
I believe there is a balance. I don’t enjoy a mystery that is far too simple, however I also do not enjoy a mystery that’s so convoluted or out of left field that it leaves you scratching your head. My personal opinion is that “Lock Every Door” had the right balance of letting you have a chance at figuring a few things out, but also including a twist ending that you probably didn’t see coming.
Now, as for the twist… Without spoiling anything, the twist seems to be the one thing that you’ll either love or hate. As for me, I didn’t mind it. I am one of the few people who are mostly indifferent. It could’ve been better, but it could’ve been worse.
All in all, this book was killer. I adored it. I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to read Riley Sager’s other novels ASAP.
My rating: ★★★★☆
Please let me know your thoughts! I’d love to hear them.