Mark and Steph live an idyllic life with their young daughter in sunny Cape Town until one day when three men in masks violently break in. Traumatized but physically unharmed, Mark and Steph are unable to return to normal and are living in constant fear. When a friend suggests they take a restorative vacation abroad via a popular house-swapping website, it sounds like the perfect plan. They find a nice artistic couple with a charming apartment in Paris who would love to come to Cape Town. How could Mark and Steph resist the idyllic, light-strewn pictures, and the promise of a romantic getaway? But once they arrive in Paris, they quickly realize that nothing is as advertised. As their perfect holiday takes a deadly turn, the cracks in their relationship grow ever wider and dark secrets from Mark’s past begin to emerge.
Deftly alternating between two complex and compelling narrators, The Apartment is a terrifying tour de force of horror, of psychological thrills, and of chilling suspense. – Goodreads.com
If you’ve ever thought about vacation house-swapping, this book may change your mind – for several reasons.
From the beginning, the reader knows this couple lived through the horrific experience of a break-in and Mark has lost another wife and daughter along the way somehow, but the details of these situations are gradually revealed, slowly building suspense. The concept of house-swapping is particularly intriguing because no matter how things are portrayed on the internet, you can never be certain of what you’ll be walking into – and this couple finds themselves in the middle of a particularly nasty situation.
The Apartment is somewhat slow in the beginning, but the pace picks up. When the ‘cleaner’ is brought in, I was riveted, but that scene ends abruptly and I’m still unclear as to what happened. I sometimes felt as if I was reading two different stories between the happenings in Paris and Cape Town and the connection between them is somewhat murky. Although I could see the direction it was going, the ending was a bit disappointing.
There are fearsome moments with disturbing imagery and the dual POV adds another layer to the story, but I never really connected with this book; however, other fans of psychological thriller and supernatural blends may enjoy this. The Apartment is scheduled for publication October 4th, 2016.
Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.