K.L. Slater – ‘The Apartment’

Freya and her daughter find themselves sucked into a situation that could either be paradise or a nightmarish hell, but which is it?

The Apartment by K.L. Slater is a dark, psychological thriller sure to leave you uneasy… that is unless it falls a little flat for you like it did for me.

We’ll get to it all, but first…

The Details

The Apartment is written by K.L. Slater and published in April of 2020 by Thomas & Mercer, the mystery/thriller/true crime wing of Amazon Publishing.

The Summary

Photo courtesy of Goodreads

From Goodreads:

“It’s an opportunity she can’t refuse. The woman before her tried…

Freya Miller needs a miracle. In the fallout of her husband’s betrayal, she’s about to lose her family home, and with it the security she craves for her five-year-old daughter, Skye. Adrift and alone, she’s on the verge of despair until a chance meeting with the charismatic Dr Marsden changes everything. He’s seeking a new tenant for a shockingly affordable flat in a fashionable area of London.

Adder House sounds too good to be true… But Freya really can’t afford to be cynical, and Dr Marsden is adamant she and Skye will be a perfect fit with the other residents.

But Adder House has secrets. Even behind a locked front door, Freya feels as if she’s being watched: objects moving, unfamiliar smells, the blinking light of a concealed camera… and it’s not long before she begins to suspect that her dream home is hiding a nightmarish reality. Was it really chance that led her here—or something unthinkably dark?

As the truth about Adder House starts to unravel, can Freya and Skye get out—or will they be locked in forever?”

The Good

I know, I know. I say it a lot lately, yet I find myself continuing down this path of the murdery/mystery genre!

Still, it’s NOT a genre I usually read a lot of so I’m going to say up front that this book fell flat on it’s face for me.

Not that I hated it, rather it just really didn’t click for me as those final pages passed by my eyes.

That aside, there were some things I enjoyed about this book. Particularly the way that through almost all of it, it oozed a feeling of unease, dread, and tension that continued to build with no relenting.

As Freya and her daughter move deeper and deeper into the nightmare world they find themselves we are left feeling like that rubber band of madness is being stretched more and more, never knowing when it will snap and unleash the horrors it’s pulling you towards.

That building tension is absolutely glorious. The story continues to throw potential twists and explanations at you that only serve to keep you guessing. It’s a slow build, an intentional and steady creeping every upwards with no release.

Along the way we are given a few things that, as a parent, made me pause and ponder for a moment. Those are always moments to be cherished in a book, moments such as this:

This is the power of our minds, our dreams. Defying logic and common sense. Our imagination has the power to control us and ultimately destroy us. If we’re willing to let that happen.

Slater, K. L.. The Apartment (p. 86). Kindle Edition.

But, the problem lies when those few moments become the most memorable things about the story.

Which brings us to…

The not so good

The trouble with The Apartment for me is two-fold. First, we are given a couple VERY believable characters in Freya, her daughter and one or two other minor characters along the way. They are then juxtaposed with a handful of characters that all feel almost cartoonish in their villainy, each seeming to be the bad guy behind it all at some point in the story.

I enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t sure who was behind the evil plan until the very end, that part is great. But the ending and the supporting characters all felt like they were over the top stereotypes of classic thriller villains, which really left things feeling flat. At times it would feel like the wonderful tension that was building was having to battle against some pretty over the top characters fighting to break and remove that tension… It’s hard to explain other than to say that some of the characters seemed to be fighting against this story flowing well.

Again, not TERRIBLE, but just didn’t click with me.

But the biggest trouble I had was that once again, this book really tip-toed along the line as it flirted with and floated the notion that the “thing” behind all of the evil in this book would fall well into the evil/horror zones. Honestly I think it very easily could have, and the story would have MAYBE been a bit more satisfying.

Maybe.

Instead it stays grounded in reality and while I won’t spoil the ending for you, my only thought as it wrapped was that it felt very much like the ending to a Scooby Doo mystery in which all that beautiful pacing reaches it’s climax only to find a bit of a anti-climactic ending waiting on the next page.

I found myself trying to guess the whole time if this book was going to head into the world of supernatural evils or stay in the world of creepy people doing evil things, and that guessing kept this story feeling a bit blah for me.

Of course, as always, your mileage may vary.

The Bottom Line

The Apartment is a psychological/mystery/thriller that plays on an ever increasing tension to keep you wondering what is happening and just how Freya will manage to see her daughter and herself through this paradise turned hellscape situation they find themselves in.

It explores the psyche of the human condition at it’s most basic levels and we’re brought on a journey of terror as we see how easy it is to manipulate the perception the world has of someone, thus controlling another human life. That part… well… it IS pretty horrifying even without the supernatural evil being present.

If you enjoy solid psychological thriller mysteries, you’ll likely enjoy The Apartment.

Personally, the book tip-toed the line into the potential of supernatural horror enough that, the lack of that horror combined with an ending that felt like it dropped out of nowhere, left me feeling like all the wonderful tension this book so carefully builds was totally wasted on an anti-climactic ending.

I give The Apartment by K.L. Slater a 2 out of 5 stars.

A solid and creepy premise that just missed a golden opportunity and landed a bit flat. I didn’t hate it, just didn’t love it more than “it was alright”.

***

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