HarperCollins | 3 March 2022 | 416 pgs
Lucy Foley is a master when it comes to creating suspense in her stories. This is what I've learned after reading The Guest List and The Hunting Party; and this book is no exception.
Right from the beginning, you feel there's something off about the old building at No. 12 Rue des Amants, set in Paris. At the heart of this story is Benjamin and Jess, in which the former has disappeared from his apartment from the above-mentioned building after inviting his half-sister to stay with him for the time being. Jess isn't happy with her job at a bar and her life in London, so she thought it'd be good to leave the city and look for Benjamin instead. After all, it's been a while since they've met each other.
But upon Jess's arrival, Benjamin didn't answer to her calls. With no one to turn to and with limited financials, she's no choice but to break into the apartment building. But, she's left with an unsettling feeling after letting herself into Benjamin's unit for there is still no sight of Benjamin. Jess, however, did get to know a few residents (even the old concierge who seems to be watching everything) after a few nights there. As much as they're polite to Jess, they're not forthcoming with any info when it comes to Benjamin. Their sometimes aloof and secretive demeanour further leave Jess in jittery on top of Benjamin's disappearance and the reader would soon find out the secrets at No. 12 Rue des Amants through Jess's eyes.
I've to say this was a compelling read despite there wasn't many actions surrounding the story. That said, the suspense and the foreboding atmosphere was great. The cast of characters are intriguing and for once, I was glad to note that there's at least someone I could root for in a suspense genre like this - Jess. She's determined and courageous, yet her recklessness at times had left me quite worried for her safety (yes, she's a survivor and I liked her for that). Her interactions with the residents are the highlights of this story; and despite Benjamin's minimal existence in this story, he did project an unforgettable impression of his wits and charms through the residents' account. The ending was a surprise, but not to an extent that wowed me. Still, it made an enjoyable, engaging read and all the more I read this together with my bookblogger friend, Lark. Go check out her review here and read what she thought about this book.
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