6/20/23; 320 pages
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
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.