The Quiet Tenant - *****
THE QUIET TENANT CLEMENCE MICHALLON *****
He took you and you have been his for five years. But you have been careful. Waiting for him to mess up. It has to be now.
Aidan Thomas is a hardworking family man and a respected member of his community. He's the kind of man who always lends a hand and has a good word for everyone. He's also a kidnapper and serial killer who has murdered eight women. And there's a ninth, a woman he calls Rachel, imprisoned in a backyard shed where she fears for her life.
When Aidan's wife dies, he and his thirteen-year-old daughter, Cecilia, are forced to move. Aidan has no choice but to bring Rachel too, introducing her to Cecilia as a family friend who needs a place to stay. He knows that after five years of captivity, Rachel is too frightened of the consequences to attempt to escape. But Rachel is a fighter and a survivor. And when Emily, a local restaurant owner, develops a crush on the handsome widower, she finds herself drawn into Rachel and Cecilia's orbit, coming dangerously close to discovering Aidan's secret.
The premise of The Quiet Tenant is truly a chilling one – a man who has abducted a woman who has been living in his shed for five years is forced to move house and moves her in with his teenage daughter as ‘his tenant’.
We see the story through 3 main perspectives – the woman he has abducted who is nicknamed ‘Laura’, his 13-year-old daughter Cecilia and Emily, a waitress at a local restaurant who has an unsuspecting crush on the serial killer and starts to date him. There are also other short chapters giving us insights from other women he has killed along the way. It’s very well paced, and the stakes are kept high at every turn - you are forever rooting for Laura, feeling sorry for Celicia and getting frustrated for Emily, who is falling in love with someone you know is evil to the core. Laura’s chapters are written in second person perspective which is quite unusual but works really well here to put the reader in her shoes but also disassociates her from what is going on around her. In the notes we discover that the author’s first language is French which emphasises what an achievement this book is as well.
Obviously, there’s a lot of trigger warnings needed for a book like this and readers should take care upon reading it. I got a little frustrated at times that Laura didn’t take some of the more obvious routes to escape although I understand the Stockholm syndrome and her attachment to Cecilia. Some of the chapters written from the perspectives of the other women didn’t add too much to the narrative either and just served to slow the plot down - I think these could have been condensed. I did really like that we only got perspectives from the women in Aidan’s life and never from him as a character though.
Overall, I was completely gripped by this high stakes thriller – it’s a creepy and unsettling read that had me hooked. Thank you to NetGalley & Little Brown Book Group UK – Abacus for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
LINKS TO BUY