Review: The Paris Apartment

2.5 out of 5 stars

A locked door mystery with one good reveal, and ten too many twists. The Paris Apartment, by Lucy Foley

Escaping a rough situation in England, ne’er-do-well bartender Jess makes an impromptu trip to stay with her brother Ben in Paris. But when she gets there, Ben is missing. As she investigates, it becomes increasingly clear that the call is coming from inside the house the mystery all points inward, toward the chic Parisian apartment building where Ben was living.

The Paris Apartment starts strong. Showing up at your brother’s door only to find you can’t open it? Instant mystery. Jess isn’t all that resourceful, but manages to blunder her way into a few clues: the odd residents of the other apartments, the investigative journalism piece Ben was researching, a job he wanted but didn’t quite have. The few people she knows – Ben’s neighbors – all seem to hate her and each other. So it’s no surprise when the search for Ben leads right back to his own door.

But this book is too twisty. There’s so much going on that it’s tough to remember – everyone’s got some devastating secret, they’re all emotional disasters. When no one is capable of making a single good choice, it grates on my nerves. While it’s enjoyable to watch this story unfold, less would have been more. It gets so outlandish that surprises stop surprising. They’re just happening on the way to the inevitable reveal – which is actually two reveals. One is quite good. The other is really dumb. Again, less would have been more.

The Paris Apartment is a mystery written with a romance novel’s breathless haste. Everything is taut, and almost tawdry – even when it’s got nothing to do with sex. But while the fun of the romance novel is in the juicy parts, The Paris Apartment tries to give every page that racing pulse. It ended up just making me tired, with no energy left when the big reveals came.

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