My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK for a review copy of this exciting YA suspense mystery/thriller.
Lock the Doors is told in first person, opening with Tom/Thomas Cavanagh who is just moving in to a new house with his mother, stepdad Jay and stepsister Nia. The house is his mother’s dream home, and here he hopes they will finally find some happiness for they have had their share of trials in the past. After Tom’s parents separated, his mother made some poor choices in men and as a result they have faced domestic abuse, the scars of which remain. But Jay is a really good man and with him they are making a fresh start. But in his new room Tom notices something strange—there are holes in the door indicating that there had been a lock to lock someone in but who? Meanwhile at school he meets Amy Pearce, whose family lived in Tom’s house before him. Amy seems lost in thought and sad at times while she is friendly at others showing an interest in him. Tom tries to find out if the mystery of the holes was anything to do with Amy but she tries to assure him that all is well with her, even inviting him home to dinner. But Tom begins to find more strange things like writing on the walls in his room which increases his suspicion, while Amy’s family moves across the road from Tom’s family. Tom tries to speak to his family and friends about his suspicions and while they don’t exactly disbelieve him, they are also worried that he might be getting unnecessarily suspicious because of his experiences in the past. Is this really the case? Is it just Tom’s imagination or is there really something suspicious about Amy and her family?
This was certainly a very gripping read in which the author manages to keep up the suspense really well and keeps us readers glued to the edge of our seats. Honestly, at the start the story was feeling to me a little like the Goosebumps film where the new neighbour meets RL Stine’s ‘daughter’ and is suspicious of what she is going through, but in the book as our story moves on Tom uncovers more and more clues or rather suspicious circumstances and we soon become convinced that there is indeed something the matter, but have no idea what this could possibly be. And then we start getting some clues….
Alongside the suspense the author has also created some pretty creepy situations and frightening characters who aren’t your typical ‘villains’ but at the same time turn out to be far more frightening and dangerous. There are also the contrasts that keep standing out between Tom’s unhappy past, his present when things seem to be normalising even though this has its obstacles as well, and then again the mystery that the house is throwing up, unsettling things for him again.
Fast paced and exciting, I thoroughly enjoyed this one.