I don’t necessarily have the best track record with Lucy Foley but that didn’t stop me from requesting her upcoming novel on NetGalley. What can I say, I keep getting sucked in by her novels. So, despite having a pretty full December TBR, I started reading this the other week. As it was Christmas, it took me longer than usual to read it but, after a big reading session on Boxing Day, I finally finished it. I was excited about the Paris location because it made a change from the isolated locations of her previous thrillers. I was hoping for a bit more of a mystery than I’d previously been offered because I’ve previously been underwhelmed by Lucy Foley’s twists. Would The Paris Apartment be able to surprise me?
There’s a worrying trend in contemporary crime fiction that sees authors using multiple POVs in their narrative so they don’t have to create suspense organically. Instead of finding ways to stop the investigation with red herrings, the narrative simply stops and moves onto somebody else. It’s not something that I enjoy and I think it mostly mucks up the pacing of the story. In her latest novel, Lucy Foley once again uses multiple perspectives to tell her story. In my opinion, all this really does is make the book feel slow. Nothing happens for a really long time as we waste the first few hundred pages introducing everyone and witnessing the same events from a different angle.
The actual story only takes place over a couple of days in Paris but it feels as though we’re stuck in that apartment for years. Time moves slowly and there’s very little excitement to be had. You’d expect the story of a woman trying to track down her missing brother while staying in a building full of suspicious characters would be full of suspense. You’d be wrong. Not only is this a slow-moving book but it’s also really obvious how it’s going to turn out. If you’ve ever read a crime novel then the supposed twist won’t come as any shock to you.
Although, I have to say that I did enjoy this more than I enjoyed either The Hunting Party or The Guest List. It fooled me for a little longer than either of those books ever did. I also liked the main character much more. Jess is a flawed personality but I wanted to get to know her more. The other characters were interesting but they never felt fully developed. They simply became flat cliches that we’ve seen countless times before. Basic templates of bad guys that Foley never really went any further with. It’s disappointing because this story could have been much better than it was. Particularly because the writer is trying to tackle some very important topics here.
The Paris Apartment isn’t a terrible book and it’s not as if it isn’t engaging. As with her previous efforts, the chapters are short and always end on a cliffhanger. It’s not a particularly skilled way of creating tension but it will keep people invested. The problem is that this never goes beyond the basics. There are so many plot strands that are left unfinished or unexplored. The most interesting aspects of this story of brushed aside for a soap opera style plot and the most interesting characters are left on the sidelines in an attempt to hide the truth. This isn’t the kind of novel that you can get your teeth into and will remember after you’ve finished it. However, it is a pretty good relaxed and easy read.