June 20, 2023
From first word to last, readers of Clemence Michallon’s debut The Quiet Tenant will be confronted with the age-old dilemma: how can I put this book down?
Aidan Thomas is a hard-working family man and a somewhat beloved figure in the small upstate town where he lives: he’s the kind of man who always lends a hand and has a good word for everyone.
But Aidan has a dark secret he’s been keeping from everyone in town and those closest to him: he’s a kidnapper and serial killer. Aidan has murdered eight women and there’s a ninth he has earmarked for death: Rachel, imprisoned in a backyard shed fearing for her life.
Not for nothing has The Quiet Tenant reverberated across the thriller world as the ‘must read debut of the year’. Rachel, Emily, Aiden, and Cecilia are all so magnificently drawn, their personalities become as individual and emboldened as anyone has any right to wish for.
Theirs are the stories that drive the novel as surely as the all-aluminum, 4.0 Litre engine of the Aston Martin DB8 drives James Bond so surefootedly. The duplicity and cold-hearted cruelty, the sheer malevolence of Aiden’s actions, weighed against the vulnerability of ‘Rachel’, is a slice of literary souffle one cannot resist devouring in a single helping.
Yet for all of the power of the written characters, there is an unwritten actor worthy of note: one that is never seen but often felt – Isolation. Whether this is physical or psychological, the atmosphere Michallon has created is chilling and adds layer-upon-layer of intrigue.
In short, The Quiet Tenant is not so much a smorgasbord of a novel but is instead a feast for those starved of high-quality, vividly written and deeply disturbing crime/thriller reading.