The Locked Door by Freida McFadden book review

The Locked Door is my third Freida McFadden book and so I’m starting to get a gauge of her USP – thrillers with female leads from a first-person point of view where there’s going to be some sort of wicked twist at some point. The Locked Door is very much like that and, like the other two McFadden novels I’ve read so far The Housemaid and The Housemaid’s Secret, it was very enjoyable, but maybe just a little less clever.

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The Locked Door is quite a simple but compelling premise – one day as a child, Nora Davis’ father is arrested because he’s been locking women up in his basement and killing them. One of his M.O.s is the fact he often went for dark haired women with bright blue eyes and cutting their hands off.

Many years later, as a successful surgeon a policeman pulls Nora aside and tells her that, despite her father serving many life imprisonments, someone has been killed that fits the same two criteria. She becomes prime suspect and so becomes determined to find out who the killer really is.

The Locked Door plot – 4.25/5

In typical Freida McFadden fashion, The Locked Door is a fast-paced and incredibly easy-to-read thriller. If you’re someone that prefers to skim read or just pick up the key points of books, McFadden’s books are great for that as they’re often simply written and don’t require much thought.

Unlike The Housemaid and its sequel though, there wasn’t quite the same level of impressive twist in The Locked Door. McFadden has become synonymous with throwing in a curveball at some point that makes you go “Ooh, that’s clever”. However, I felt like The Locked Door‘s twist was just tacked on and wasn’t clever enough to impress me. The twist needs to have been agreed from the very start and everything worked up to that being the best way to do it but I felt like The Locked Door‘s wasn’t that smart.

I enjoy McFadden’s writing style as it’s no thrills and no spills. Often it’s quite concise and doesn’t waste too much of the page. There were some of the usual thriller bugbears I despise: the main character constantly harkening back to something as a red-herring (in this case, Nora’s father) and some filling in of pages with over-drawn out thoughts that don’t really lead anywhere or add anything to either the story or the character.

The Locked Door characters – 4/5

One thing I thoroughly enjoyed about The Housemaid was despite the fact it had the two main issues that can hold back good characters: a first-person point of view and it being a thriller, I really enjoyed Millie, the main protagonist. Nora Davis isn’t on quite the same level and spends most of her time worrying.

Now, I thought this recently during my The Stranger in Her House by John Marrs review and I fear it may just be the issue with writing a first-person thriller. Due to the fact you’re having worrying things happen to them all the time, it can be difficult to write any other personality traits into the character. However, Nora does manage to express some humour and has a genuinely inquisitive mind with a fair amount of opinions on those around her.

The supporting characters were fine with Philip, her colleague and her dad (a bit of a spoiler) actually being the best two characters.

The Locked Door final rating – 4/5

The Locked Door didn’t shock me and impress me quite like The Housemaid did, but it fits in the perfect formula of what I was hoping for from a Freida McFadden book: an engaging, easy-to-read story with just enough twists and turns to keep me reading until the very end. The premise had me very intrigued and some people I spoke to noted that this was her best outside of The Housemaid books. I plan on continuing to read some more McFadden books and will come back in a few months to let you know which my favourites are!

Buy a copy of The Locked Door.

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