Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Apartment by S.L. Grey

Expected publication October 4
Available for preorder at amazon

"Mark and Steph have a relatively happy family with their young daughter in sunny Cape Town until one day when armed men in balaclavas break in to their home. Left traumatized but physically unharmed, Mark and Steph are unable to return to normal and live in constant fear. When a friend suggests a restorative vacation abroad via a popular house swapping website, it sounds like the perfect plan. They find a genial, artistic couple with a charming apartment in Paris who would love to come to Cape Town. Mark and Steph can’t resist the idyllic, light-strewn pictures, and the promise of a romantic getaway. But once they arrive in Paris, they quickly realize that nothing is as advertised. When their perfect holiday takes a violent turn, the cracks in their marriage grow ever wider and dark secrets from Mark's past begin to emerge.

Deftly weaving together two complex and compelling narrators, S. L. Grey builds an intimate and chilling novel of a disintegrating marriage in the wake of a very real trauma. The Apartment is a terrifying and tour-de-force of horror, of psychological thrills, and of haunting suspense."

This story was a little slow to get going, and at first I thought I was going to be disappointed in it. I don't know when I've been so wrong.
When the book begins. the home invasion has already occurred and Mark and Steph are living in the aftermath. They have somewhat grown apart in the marriage, partially due to the break in, and partially because Mark had already faced some traumatic events before the break in ever occurred. The story is told in alternating points of view, switching back and forth between Mark and Steph. They no longer feel comfortable in their own home and do not seem all that comfortable with each other, at least not enough to confide in.
A friend suggests a getaway, but money is tight since Mark is the sole provider and Steph is a stay at home mom to their small daughter.
When an opportunity presents itself to stay in Paris free via a house swap website it sounds like a dream come true. They head off with high hopes that this will be just what they need to reconnect with each other and to put the trauma of the past behind them.
Those hopes are short lived. At this point the story picks up speed from a slow build to an avalanche of terror and suspense. From the minute they arrive there is a feeling that something is just plain wrong. The apartment is not at all what they expected and the building itself appears abandoned, except for a strange woman upstairs who has never heard of the people who supposedly live there, and who tells them this building is "not for living."
Circumstances go from bad to worse and the creepiness factor rises exponentially.
I have been reading adult horror since I was 11 years old and it takes a lot to scare me. S.L. Grey has succeeded in doing just that with The Apartment.
5 out of 5 stars from me
I received an advance copy for review

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