Everyone has an author that they immediately add their new release to their TBR without even reading the synopsis. For me, Riley Sager is that author. I absolutely loved Final Girls and still force The Last Time I Lied on anyone that will listen to me (psst…that review can be found here!), so after dancing a celebratory jig, I added this to my TBR and checked NetGalley daily so I could officially request an ARC.
No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.
As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.
Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.
I absolutely DEVOURED this book – started and finished it within 12 hours (no exaggeration)! I would even dare say that this is by far my favorite Sager publication yet *gasp*. Now that’s saying something.
Told in alternating timelines (basically Before and After), the story follows Jules, who scored the gig of a lifetime: Get paid $4,000 per month for 3 months to live in a luxury apartment after the previous tenant passed away. The apartment manager’s logic? If someone hears that an apartment in the Bartholomew is empty, they will believe they can rob it which would make the building less desirable to the tenants. If this doesn’t trigger your “Run, don’t walk away” reaction, I honestly don’t know what will.
“Do you think it’s possible for a place to be haunted, even if there aren’t any ghosts there?”
One thing that immediately captivated me was the incredible backstory developed for the setting. The Bartholomew is like a character itself – full of mystery and secrets.
“[T]he Bartholomew is haunted by its history. Like all the bad stuff that’s ever happened there has accumulated like dust and now floats in the air. And we’re breathing it in, Jules.”
I also love how Sager continuously develops a strong, pretty bad-ass female character. If I were in her situation, I would turn and run the other way. Jules? She goes in search of answers to (hopefully) rescue her friend… even when she had barely known her and had every reason to try protecting her own tail. It’s honestly refreshing to not have a female protagonist that’s rescued by a knight in shining armor.
I’m afraid I can’t say much more without spoilers, so I’ll leave you with this: some was a bit predictable.. other portions definitely were not. The book as a whole? Utterly addictive, and I’m still firm in my decision to forgo sleep so I could finish the day I started it.
Do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy IMMEDIATELY. And I don’t say that lightly. Thank you so much to Dutton Publishing for providing my review copy. It’s my pleasure to share my honest thoughts and opinions!