ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lucy Foley is a British author of mystery novels. Foley started publishing in 2015. Her first work was titled The Book of Lost and Found. Set between Paris and London, this work established Foley as an accomplished mystery author. Her signature style would thereafter develop a unique blend of the French and Western cultures.
Foley would go on to publish several mystery-thrillers, all centered around murders. Her 2020 novel, The Guest List, earned her the honor of the New York Times’ Best Thriller Author. Her latest book, The Paris Apartment, was released in 2022.
Apart from thrillers, Foley has also dipped her toes in historic-fiction with her book, Last Letter from Istanbul.
The Paris Apartment is the story of a girl named Jess. Jess is broke and has come to Paris to spend some time with her brother. However, when she gets to his apartment, he is nowhere to be seen. Surprisingly, no one is willing to talk to her or even acknowledge her existence. Thus begins the search for her brother as Jess prises open the reluctant neighbors’ doors to make sense of the tidbits of information they have on offer. The slow and steady reveal of everyone’s character and of what became of her brother before his mysterious disappearance is what this page-turner is all about.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT THE PARIS APARTMENT (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
The Paris Apartment is detailed in its descriptions. Right from the first encounter with a neighbor at the apartment’s gate to the moment she makes a shocking revelation, the readers can experience all the ups and downs Jess goes through. Speaking of Jess, she is no saint, and neither is her brother. It becomes clear that everyone in the story has their own vices and ulterior motives.
Foley has also made stellar use of the background in which the plot is set. The city of Paris is full of unrest, which ultimately contributes to the plot.
Another positive aspect of The Paris Apartment is that the story has been narrated by each apartment resident from their own perspective. This lends a three-dimensional perspective to the story. To her credit, the author has used her unique narration style to disclose the intentions of her characters, while making sure that the big question is left unanswered to the very end: where is Jess’ brother, and is he still alive?
While most readers will feel little to no sympathy for the hard-headed Jess, one cannot help but appreciate her concern for her missing brother. Her motives and feelings slowly take center stage around the middle of the story, when her brother’s past begins to solidify.
Lastly, as one would expect from a Lucy Foley novel, The Paris Apartment lives up to its expectations of a cliffhanger. Right from the first page, there is a sense of impending doom, which keeps the readers on the edge of their seats. Each character is acting out of their own interests, brutally driving home the fact that no one is safe in the apartment, least of all our helpless protagonist, Jess.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ABOUT THE PARIS APARTMENT
The story takes place over a span of a few days and often comes across as a bit slow-paced for a novel of this genre. However, the one thing that keeps the reader going is the need to find the answer to the ultimate question. It is a disappointment that the answer seems somewhat hard to accept when it finally arrives. Despite its apparent plausibility, it just refuses to sit comfortably in the back of the readers’ minds.
Another downer is that the subplot about a prominent character turns out to be a rather simple secret, single-handedly ruining the patient build-up the author worked on throughout the story.
I only hope she knows what she’s doing. Climbing so high, so quickly: it only makes for further to fall.
It’s a beautiful building, but there’s something rotten at its heart. Now he’s discovered it he can smell the stench of it everywhere.
The lights are on in the concierge’s cabin. Of course: that nosey old bitch never misses a trick. Creeping out from shadowy corners. Always watching, always there. Looking at you like she knows all your secrets.
To sum up, The Paris Apartment puts forth a question and keeps dragging the plot with the promise of revealing the answer to it. The characters just about manage to spice up the story, which is definitely a great plus. The ending is satisfactory, but only for readers who are starting out with thriller/mystery novels. For more seasoned readers, this is a book best skipped.
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