While kind of trashy, this thriller gave me undertones of Rosemary’s Baby and Single White Female, if only for it’s grand setting (and the creepy basement) – and I really enjoyed it.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sagar

You’ve been offered a luxury apartment, rent free. The catch: you may not live long enough to enjoy it…

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents.
These are the only rules for Jules Larson’s new job as apartment sitter for an elusive resident of the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile private buildings and home to the super rich and famous.

When down on her luck Jules loses her job and her boyfriend on the same day, she retreats to her BFF’s couch to lick her wounds. She’s not out for long however – an interview for an apartment sitting job soon comes up in the exclusive Bartholomew building. Delighted (and shocked) to be selected, Jules quickly moves into the impressively lush building. Despite her best friend’s suspicion that it all sounds too good to be true, including the rather generous weekly wage – broke AF Jules has little choice but to see how it goes.

The gig doesn’t come without its rules though – Jules isn’t permitted to have any visitors to the apartment, nor is she allowed to spend a night away from it. She can’t drink or consume drugs – or have any fun at all it appears. Still, for now it’s all hers. While she settles into this strange new lifestyle, she bonds with fellow house-sitter Ingrid and gradually gets to know the idiosyncrasies of the residents surrounding her.

Ingrid confides in Jules that she’s not entirely comfortable at the Bartholomew either and in the middle of the night hurredly leaves without saying goodbye. Which leads Jules on a wild goose chase to find out what happened to her, and also the previous sitter of her own apartment…

Although the climax of this story wasn’t quite what I was expecting, I was glad to learn it was less supernatural that I’d first suspected. I drew the Rosemary’s Baby comparisons because of all the folklore surrounding the building itself, which had been rumoured to house witches and be the setting for satanic ritual. Human evil often feels more terrifying than ghosts and goblins, and although it’s dramatic and more than a little camp, I was into it. Maybe I rated it higher than I usually would because it reminded me of that story in tone.

I also enjoyed the interactions between Jules and spiky writer, Greta who just happens to be the author of Jule’s favourite childhood novel – though she’s no Minnie Castavet. The novel builds tension well with satisfying descriptions of the building and the apartment itself. I’m not sure what I felt for Jules, she was something of a blank canvas but I appreciate her attempts to find Ingrid and dig for the truth. I also loved the voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of the other residents, even if they were a little unoriginal.

A page-turner, a lot of fun and better than the first Sagar novel I read, The Final Girls.


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