Trap Door by Dreda Say Mitchell

A review of the psychological thriller Trap Door by Dreda Say Mitchell.

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Trap Door is a psychological thriller centred around a young woman called Rachel. Rachel is in serious debt and needs to find a job quickly or will lose her home. After she is recommended by a friend, Rachel is given a position in a successful company that’s run by Michael Barrington.

Rachel discovers that the business is located in an old Victorian building with a tragic past. The story follows Rachel as she learns more about the deaths and the history of the property, and about the enigmatic Mr Barrington.

This book is quite well written although fairly simplistic in places. The author does suffer from the need to over-describe things and that quickly becomes irritating. The characters are stereotypical and under developed: the flaky down-on-her-luck troubled girl, the handsome boss with secrets, the secretary, sorry P.A, who flaps and fusses and the obligatory weird computer geek – who wears a mask for some reason.

All of the interactions between the characters are forced and come across as false. Rachel comes across as whiny and spoiled and is really difficult to like or care about. Although the author attempts to develop Rachel’s character it doesn’t help. Even knowing her very long-winded back story doesn’t arouse any sympathy. Michael is wishy-washy and very two-dimensional. As for Joanie, Michael’s PA, she’s just out-and-out irritating.

The basis of the story is quite interesting, but at times so far-fetched it is almost impossible to believe. The plot does deliver a few twists and turns but with the unrealistic core scenario, unbelievable coincidences, and a protagonist that makes improbable decisions it is not an enjoyable read.

The story is very slow-paced and at times really tedious and I found myself skimming just to get past the boring bits.

I don’t think I would recommend this book, personally, in fact I really struggled to finish it. I found it tedious and disappointing and definitely not the ‘creepiest psychological suspense you will read this year’ – unless you are reading it on January 1st! I won’t be rushing out to get any of this author’s other books. Maybe it was just not my type of story.

Cassidy grew up in Thanet and lives here with her family.

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