Friday, June 16, 2023

The Quiet Tenant

The Quiet Tenant by Clémence Michallon
6/20/23; 320 pages
Knopf Doubleday

The Quiet Tenant by Clémence Michallon is a very highly recommended debut thriller about a serial killer and the one woman he kept as a prisoner.

A woman who has been instructed by her captor to call herself "Rachel" has been a prisoner, chained up and locked in a backyard shed for five years. She knows his rules and routines. She lives in constant fear and follows everything he says in order to live. Her captor is Aidan Thomas is a well -liked, hard-working family man and serial killer.

When his wife dies through natural causes, Aidan is forced to move. He takes Rachel with him, instructing her to say she is a friend who needs a place to stay, especially to his thirteen-year-old daughter Cecilia. She has a room/prison cell in the house and has a small measure of freedom in her new arrangements. However, when Emily, a restaurant owner who has a crush on Aidan, begins to try and form a relationship with him, it may unbalance the already tenuous situation.

The well-written narrative is told through the points-of-view of Rachel, Cecilia, and Emily, as well as some chapters from previous victims of Aidan. The Quiet Tenant is a woman-centered novel. Aidan is never developed beyond the superficial, but neither are the women beyond how Aidan influences their lives. Rachel is the most developed, but she is also the most fearful of her captor. 

This is absolutely a compelling and an un-put-down-able thriller. It is also, admittedly, a melodramatic novel, but, whatever. The narrative held my rapt attention throughout. It is an intense novel where the suspense keeps building and growing throughout the entire novel. Readers will fell Rachel's fear and trepidation while simultaneously learning how popular and well liked Aidan is in the community. A story of survival and resilience in an incredibly stressful and heartbreaking plot. Michallon is a writer to watch and I look forward to her next novel.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Knopf Doubleday via NetGalley.

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