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A clever plot but unlikeable characters

The Paris Apartment - Lucy Foley

Released: 3rd March 2022

Psychological Thriller Fans rating - 66% ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Genre: Murder mystery thriller

Premise: Jess discovers her brother, Ben, has mysteriously disappeared when she arrives at the Paris apartment where he’s staying, after turning up to visit him unexpectedly

The good: A well-worked plot with lots of mystery and intrigue

The bad: The characters, including the protagonist, Jess, are largely unlikeable and unsympathetic.

The ugly: There was great potential in the creepy old Paris house but the setting fails to deliver

In summary: A good story and plot with plenty of mystery and intrigue but with characters who are unlikeable and unsympathetic who I simply didn’t care about enough.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley was one of my favourite reads of the last few years, with its clever twist on the whodunnit formula that left you wondering not only about the identity of the killer, but also the victim.

So I was excited to receive an advanced copy of Foley’s new thriller, The Paris Apartment.

It’s a story about Jess and her quest to discover what has happened to her brother, Ben, a journalist, who she discovers is missing when she unexpectedly arrives at the Paris apartment he’d recently moved into.

The apartment is occupied by a weird and wonderful cast of characters all with an apparent motive to do Ben harm.

The question is – what have they done with him? And why?

I really wanted to love this book. The Hunting Party in particular was a real page-turning that I struggled to put down.

By contrast, I’m afraid to say that I found The Paris Apartment hard going. It failed to grip me and there were parts where I had to force myself to carry on reading.

It’s not that this is a bad book or that the story doesn’t work. It does. There’s a good mystery at its heart and it resolves satisfactorily, but I simply didn’t connect with the characters.

In particular, there wasn’t enough about Ben for me to care about him.

I didn’t care that he was missing. I didn’t care what had happened to him. And I didn’t care why.

Likewise, I found the protagonist, Jess not particularly likeable or sympathetic.

And although it’s a great location for a mystery thriller, I never felt I was there, living it and experiencing it for myself.

It felt like there was a missed opportunity to make the apartment a character in its own right.

In the Hunting Party, Foley does an amazing job of scene-setting around the Highland lodge cut off in the snow on New Year’s Eve. That same scene-setting was missing in this book, I’m sad to say.

That said, I think Foley’s fans will enjoy this book.

But unfortunately, when you set such high standards, it can be extremely difficult to match those heights in subsequent books. Such is the case with The Paris Apartment, although still a four-star read.


Welcome to No.12 rue des Amants

A beautiful old apartment block, far from the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower and the bustling banks of the Seine.

Where nothing goes unseen. And everyone has a story to unlock.

The watchful concierge The scorned lover The prying journalist The naïve student The unwanted guest

Something terrible happened here last night. A mystery lies behind the door of apartment three.

Only you – and the killer – hold the key . . .



AMAZON US (paperback)

AMAZON CA (paperback)

AMAZON AUS (paperback)

*Please note - while I'm not affiliated with the author, I do make a small commission on purchases made through these links.


AJ Wills is the bestselling author of multiple psychological thrillers. He was a journalist for more than twenty years and has been writing full-time since March 2021. He's married to fellow thriller writer, AJ McDine.

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