Riley Sager takes readers to New York City, where if something seems too good to be true it normally is:
June Larsen has a new job opportunity, she is to become the newest apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattans greatest and most mysterious landmarks. But the mysterious, tall tales and legends do not scare June, she is just happy to have a fairly easy job to help get her back on her feet. Sure there are a few odd rules like no guests and you must spend every night in the apartment, but who would want to leave this beautiful building. However, when June starts to get to know one of the other apartment sitters, something seems off and all she wants to talk about is the Bartholomew's dark history. The very next day she goes missing and June knows this is not a coincidence. Now June needs to put together Ingrid's reasons for disappearing and she finds that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing.
Sager's books seem to be popping up on all of my social media feeds these days and all of them have had rave reviews so I knew that I was going to give him a try, as his books seemed right up my ally, and lets just say it did not go quite as I expected in both good and bad ways. But I will say my review is probably in the minority of this book.
I'll start with the good, Sager uses one of my favourite formats to have the story unfold, with having two timelines getting closer and closer to each other, as you want to find out why Jules is what seems to be running for her life into the street. I love this type of format as it always piques my curiosity and having just tidbits from the "future" to keep me reading. Plus it was like June was telling her story of how things came to be which I liked as well. I also think that Sager did a great job with the setting of the book, you felt like you are in Manhattan and experiencing everything with Jules. I also likes Jules as a character, she is caring about everyone, whether she knows them or not, smart and is constantly dealing with her problems the best she knows how. You understand why she needed to take the apartment sitting job at the Bartholomew.
I had really high expectations for this book and maybe if I had not read this book after Ruth Ware's The Turn of the Key, I might have felt differently, but I just felt that the creepy atmosphere that Sager was trying to achieve throughout the whole book just didn't occur. Yes, the last quarter of the book is disturbing and suspenseful but that was the first time that I felt that throughout the previous 3/4 of the book. This lack of suspenseful feeling or feeling of urgency really made the book feel rather slow. I mean we know something has to be up with the Bartholomew and really you're not going to predict what is going on there (which I totally appreciate) but it was super slow getting there. I mean the parts that were supposed to be suspense full just lacked luster. Even all the missing people/previous house sitters, I just never really felt the urgency or the overall threat, maybe that was the point? Maybe's it due to the fact that we only had June's point of view and her lack of wanting to share the burden of her thoughts and research with anyone else, I'm not sure, but there was just something missing there to create the creepy or suspenseful atmosphere/moments that I think that Sager was looking to create.
This book just didn't meet my expectations, and I will admit that they were set pretty high. I would try another book by Sager, as I think he has the ability to tell a story and to bring the suspense, chills and thrills that I was expecting from this book but didn't get. So overall, this book is a good read and the last quarter does make it worth the read.