Kurt Anthony Krug

The New Couple in 5B
by Lisa Unger
Park Row, March 2024, $28.99

On the heels of her novella, Christmas Presents, Lisa Unger delivers another thriller to will keep you up past your bedtime with The New Couple in 5B—a novel that has earned the praise of Buffy the Vampire Slayer herself: Sarah Michelle Gellar!

The novel follows a struggling New York City couple Chad and Rosie Lowan, who inherit luxury apartment at the historic Windermere in Manhattan's Murray Hill neighborhood. As they get settled into their new digs, Chad and Rosie are welcomed with open arms by their neighbors. Yet they soon discover a dark underbelly to their new home—many brutal crimes have happened there, which piques crime writer Rosie’s curiosity. Then there’s the ghost of a boy Rosie encounters in the basement and a seemingly ubiquitous doorman who gives off a creepy vibe. Once fellow tenants end up dead, Rosie takes it upon herself to get to the truth.

Unger has a rich imagination and command of the written word; she is able to describe every minute detail in a scene, as well as what is going on inside a character’s head, yet still keep the story moving forward. She also knows how to inject just the right amount of angst into her novels—one of her trademarks. On top of that, she knows New York City quite well and it shows.

A heady cocktail of Rosemary’s Baby, 666 Park Avenue, Only Murders in the Building (sans the comedic aspects), and Riley Sager’s Lock Every Door, Unger demonstrates what a master of suspense she is by subverting many tropes and keeping readers guessing. The twist she pulls at the end is worthy of Hitchcock himself. And then she pulls another one while you’re still processing the first! She brings it all to a satisfying conclusion that remains long after you finish.