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Clemence Michallon

Autor(a) de The Quiet Tenant

5 Works 431 Membros 27 Reviews

About the Author

Obras de Clemence Michallon


Conhecimento Comum

France, USA
Local de nascimento
Paris, France
Pequena biografia
Clémence Michallon was born and raised near Paris. She studied journalism at City University of London, received a master's in Journalism from Columbia University, and has written for The Independent since 2018. Her essays and features have covered true-crime, celebrity culture, and literature. She moved to New York City in 2014 and recently became a US citizen. She now divides her time between New York City and Rhinebeck, NY.



This is a serial killer thriller from a different perspective – that of three women.

Aidan Thomas is an ex-Marine, widower, single father, and serial killer living in the Hudson River valley of New York state. For five years he has kept a woman captive in a shed. When forced to move, he takes the woman with him and his daughter Cecilia, telling her that the woman, whom he calls Rachel, is the friend of a friend needing a home. Once she is ensconced in the house and has met Cecilia, Rachel wonders how she can escape and if she can get Cecilia to help her.

Rachel is one narrator; her sections are in second person point of view. This point of view tends to be annoying, but it is appropriate since in a way it indicates how she has been dehumanized. It also suggests she is addressing her old self, the person she was pre-captivity. Thirteen-year-old Cecilia is a first-person narrator as is Emily, a lonely bartender romantically attracted to Aidan.

Aidan’s character development is interesting; he’s definitely a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde figure. In public he’s charming and seems so normal. His good looks also help. He works hard to be liked; he even tells Cecilia, “’It’s easier to go through life if people like you.’” And he’s successful in convincing people that he’s a good, trustworthy person. In fact, he’s so popular that townspeople raise money for him after his wife’s death.

Of course we also see his dark side. He has killed several women, each of whom is given a brief chapter. And he’s kept Rachel captive for over five years. The problem is that his motives are not clarified. Why does he kill? The only explanation is that he seeks control after his wife’s illness and death: “Death was happening to him, to the family he had built. And there was nothing he could do about it. It must have unmoored him. He needed control.” Why does he let Rachel live when he has already killed four other women by the time he encounters her? Again, the only reason given is “He saw something in [Rachel] that was more interesting than death.” And Rachel is able to convince him not to kill her and take her with him into the home he shares with his teenaged daughter?

Cecilia is also a bit of a problem. She’s a very incurious teenager who asks very few questions. Though she doesn’t like being controlled by her father, she never rebels? Rachel’s appearance and behaviour cannot be seen as normal, yet Cecilia doesn’t show any real interest in the strange tenant? She goes into the basement to look at things that belonged to her mother, but she doesn’t snoop into other boxes? At the end of the book, she disappears when her perspective would have been interesting.

Emily is not convincing either. She is so very needy, behaving like a lovesick teenager. All we learn about her past is that she inherited her father’s restaurant. More backstory would have been useful. Some of her behaviour could be called stalking.

There is considerable suspense. Of course Rachel’s life is in danger; it is obvious that Aidan cannot be trusted to keep her indefinitely. She realizes that if his attention falls elsewhere, she could be seen as dispensable: “If you have to be in his world, then you must be special. You must be the only one of you.” There is a sense of urgency because he could be grooming his next victim. She knows that he has killed others since she has been held captive, and if she doesn’t escape, she endangers others. And as she gets to know Cecilia, Rachel worries about her and decides, “Whichever way you wiggle out of this, it has to involve her. You want her safe.”

The reader sees Rachel’s thought processes so her behaviour is understandable, though there are several times when the reader might become frustrated with her reluctance to act. There is no doubt that she has been traumatized. However, I preferred Room and Strange Sally Diamond, both of which also examine the psychological effects of being held captive.

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… (mais)
Schatje | outras 26 resenhas | Apr 12, 2024 |
It’s impossible to credit Michallon’s assertion that Aiden - kidnapper and killer of multiple women - is charming, well-liked, an all-round nice guy. He has kept a woman hostage in his shed for five years for crying out loud! There are plenty of defects in this novel, in the writing, plot, characters, and pace. It was like watching paint dry and I almost gave up a few times but kept on reading in the hope it would have a dramatic end.

The second-person writing style was a tad annoying, although I can appreciate that it helps “you” experience the situation.

I doubt that I’ll read another after this disappointing debut.
… (mais)
VivienneR | outras 26 resenhas | Mar 23, 2024 |
This suspenseful story begins with "Rachel," held captive by a stranger in a small hut on his property. It is told from alternating timelines and perspectives, which include "Rachel," the kidnapper's teenaged daughter, Cecilia, and Emily, the abductor's current love interest and unwitting prospective victim.

The kidnapper is Aiden, a recent widower and a respected man in the small community for his many acts of kindness. When Aiden has to leave his current home following his wife's death, "Rachel" is brought along and introduced to his daughter as their tenant, who will be living with him and Cecilia. There seem to be several opportunities for her to escape when she emerges from her room to have meals with Aidan and Cecilia. Unbeknownst to Cecilia, "Rachel" is assaulted nightly and handcuffed to her bed. As she slowly gains Cecilia's trust and her freedom away from her room grows, her resolve to escape gains momentum. She gains a knowledge of Aiden's heinous past, even encountering Emily in a heart-stopping moment in the home.

The story is told with a gripping sense of apprehension as "Rachel" gains his daughter's trust and plans her escape. I thought the timing was very well executed and reminded me of the horrors in Cleveland when the monster kept his victims for long periods of time, which is referenced in this debut novel.
… (mais)
pdebolt | outras 26 resenhas | Mar 3, 2024 |
I must admit I am a bit behind the curve on reading this book but had not seen anything about it before I started to read it so had no idea what it was about.
The book is structured in a way that can cause some confusion to start with but I soon got used to its style.
The story concerns four main characters : Rachel a survivor who has been held captive for five years, Aiden a widower, devoted family man and pillar of the community who just happens to be a serial killer. Aiden's clueless 13 year old daughter Cecillia and Emily who becomes besotted with Aiden after he comes into her bar one day.
As I was reading I was willing for something to happen to distract and put Emily off her obsession as Aiden is a truly evil man hiding in plain sight.
The story is told through the eyes of Rachel and it is painful to see how her long captivity has effected her so much that she feels it impossible to try and escape even as she is gradually given more freedom and seems to befriend Aiden's daughter. I was willing her to 'spill the beans' and tell Cecillia what a monster her father actually was but I could also understand why Rachel cannot do this.
Although the book has a very dark subject matter the writing never felt exploitative and is very much told from the women's point of view. and focused on their strong spirit throughout.
A great and unusual thriller.
… (mais)
WWDG | outras 26 resenhas | Feb 14, 2024 |



½ 3.6

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