Summer Must-Read: Lock Every Door

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“Never take anything you haven’t earned, my father used to say. You always end up paying for it one way or another.” Debuted July 2nd, Lock Every Door is a summer thriller that proves that everything has a price in the most unsettling way.

It follows Jules Larsen, a recently-hired apartment sitter at an eye-catching and peculiar building in Manhattan, the Bartholomew. Between being broke and in awe with the grandeur of her surroundings, Jules accepts her new job and everything it entails: having no visitors, spending no nights outside, and disturbing no rich or famous residents in the building. 

Despite the warnings of her friend, Chloe, Jules still takes this deal that seems too good to be financially true. As she familiarizes herself with the other inhabitants and staff of the Bartholomew, she finds herself drawn to another apartment sitter, Ingrid, who reminds her of her sister she lost years ago. When Ingrid shares her suspicion that the Bartholomew is hiding its ugly history behind an ornate facade and is not what it seems, Jules does not give it much thought and brushes it off as a far-fetched conspiracy. 

Jules soon changes her mind when, the next day, Ingrid is missing and later discovers that she is not the first sitter to have had that fate.  Determined to find the dark truth about the Bartholomew, Jules dives into the building’s dark past and tries to uncover the secrets that only the walls of the building know. 

With Jules time-pressed with trying to find a killer, exposing the buried history of Bartholomew, and escaping it, the plot of Lock Every Door is a rush. The reader soon discovers that the aforementioned rules that once seemed a little strict are now dangerous and trapping—those who enter the building, never leave. The plot, in itself, is very elaborate, but entertaining. However, with the book’s dense and suspenseful atmosphere, Sager is able to deliver this intriguing storyline in an impactful manner. 

The old, gothic apartment that Jules is in sets an intense mood for the entire story. Unfortunately, the characters are not as strong as the plot; all of the characters are either unlikable, like the antagonist, or indifferent, like Jules. Jules, as a character, seems to lack depth—she does not have common sense skills which can anger the reader. Even her missing sister, a plot device that was most likely employed for complexity, plays no further role in the plot. Jules’ motive, as well, is variable. She fluctuates between being superficial and righteous, making it hard for the reader to establish a connection with her. 

As for the technical aspect of the novel, the pacing of it is gradual, building the necessary tension to execute the climax. This is ideal as the story did become predictable—the antagonist or killer is simple to uncover, the motive, on the other hand, ends up being a gruesome and shocking twist. Packed with suspense, Lock Every Door is a thriller with turns that should be explored.