I’ve been a big fan of Lucy Foley’s last two books – they brought with them a perfect sense of progression and intrigue throughout the book that kept you on tenterhooks throughout. However, The Paris Apartment fails on these two fronts and really didn’t interest me.
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The Paris Apartment is technically Foley’s sixth book, though to many it may feel like her third after The Hunting Party shot her into the mainstream and The Guest List solidified her as an author to look out for. It follows a simple story of a woman who comes to Paris to spend time with her brother, only to find out he’s not there and the apartment block he lives in is filled with some very odd goings-ons.
The Paris Apartment plot – 3/5
The Paris Apartment follows the story of Jess as she arrives in Paris to see her brother Ben. Ben isn’t answering any of her texts and so has to essentially break in and live in his apartment whilst she begins a search to find him. Along the way, she meets the other residents of the apartment block Ben lives in and slowly starts to unravel the fact that they all have much darker secrets than it initially seems. It’s a good idea and one that initially had me quite intrigued. The first 30 pages or so were genuinely quite interesting and had me interested. But from there it fell apart and became quite dull.
Now, The Paris Apartment is a book that, like Foley’s other books, tries to offer up a constant level of intrigue in an attempt to keep you reading and interested. However, I’m not sure whether the mini cliffhangers at the end of each chapter were a little forced or because Foley was creating suspense where there wasn’t really any suspense to be had but I just wasn’t falling for them. There are only so many times a hooded figure is walking towards you at the end of a chapter and it turns out to be someone the main character knows or is someone friendly at the start of the next.
There’s a section towards the end where you find out the big secret and there’s a bit of a tense moment, at the end, that kind of just fizzles out into nothing but other than this, it’s a really empty book. Almost nothing happens in the middle – it’s filled with first-person monologues from some of the other characters in an attempt to build a bit of their backstory but which inevitably has very little impact on the actual plot or book as a whole.
The Paris Apartment characters 4/5
Now, to be fair to Foley, characters to tend to be something she’s quite good as building. In a very similar fashion to Lisa Jewell, she offers you a first-person opinion-based story from the eyes of different characters in the book. This does lend itself to building up personalities.
In The Paris Apartment, there are genuinely some creepy, mean and loveable characters. Are the two main characters utterly dull with no chemistry and seem to only show personality once or twice in 300 pages? Yes. But are the other characters in the apartment slightly more interesting and therefore make you want to keep reading? Yes. In all honesty, the intrigue and suspense around the real goings-ons and identities behind the other characters is one of the few good things this book has going for it.
The Paris Apartment summary – 3/5
I was excited to read The Paris Apartment; I thoroughly enjoyed The Hunting Party and The Guest List and wanted to enjoy this but I quickly found myself coming towards the end of the book realising I was still waiting for something to happen. It’s a quick and easy read but it’s not one I’d suggest putting to the top of your thriller pile.