The Other Tenant – Lesley Kara | Book Review | #TheOtherTenant | @LesleyKara @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours

The Queen of the killer twist is back in this gripping closed-circle thriller about an unusual home full of strangers, with a murderer in their midst…

Marlow has always lived in unusual places. But when she accepts a position as a live-in property guardian, she finds herself moving somewhere she swore she’d never return to.

Right from the start, she knows it’s a terrible mistake. The elegant Victorian school is due to be turned into luxury apartments, but its eerie, empty corridors are full of Marlow’s worst memories. And now something sinister is happening on the site. One of the other tenants has disappeared without warning, and Marlow suspects that the nine other guardians know far more than they’re letting on. She’s determined to find out what happened to the missing woman – but which of these strangers can she trust?

And can she uncover the truth before her own past catches up with her?


My thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for the invite and to the publisher for the ecopy to review. The Other Tenant is published by Transworld Books in Ebook, Audio and Hardback (25 April 2024) with the Paperback to follow in January 2025. I’ve read most of Lesley’s books and a couple have been reviewed here The Rumour and The Apartment Upstairs.

The story is based on a concept of ‘Property Guardians’ that I wasn’t aware of before reading this book. For a reduced rent and without the usual tenant legal security, people occupy empty properties for securing and safeguarding purposes. Here, the main character Marlow is a property guardian. It’s rather an itinerant lifestyle, she can be moved on without notice but it suits her and she can indulge her passion for photography, old buildings being a favourite for her social media. When she is asked to move from her existing church building she is offered a new property – McKinleys School for Girls located in north London which is to be redeveloped. Even though 18 years have passed, she is horrified at returning to the scene of a traumatic event in her past which still impacts her life. However with nowhere else to live, she has no choice.

Marlow will be joining other guardians at the abandoned school. They were a diverse and mostly unlikeable bunch of people and I felt that any one of them had something to hide. When Marlow discovers that the nicer room (now out of bounds) that was meant to be hers had previously been occupied by a young woman whose sudden and out of character disappearance hadn’t raised any flags she is suspicious and determined to find out why. She really should have left well alone.

The old school is very much the main focus of the story and the author’s use of atmospheric detail and vivid imagery made it a creepy and forbidding place to live. I was fearful for Marlow, especially when she made some rather questionable decisions in her quest to find answers. The sinister voice of a nasty anonymous character adds to the tension, they have someone in their sights but why and how far will they go.

The Other Tenant is a chilling and unsettling read. There are secrets and deceit and I had no idea who was trustworthy, if indeed anyone. The slower pace is perfectly suited for ramping up the suspense. An addictive and engrossing read, I enjoyed this, despite being slightly saddened by one aspect of the story. Can’t say what. Spoilers!

LESLEY KARA is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Rumour, Who Did You Tell?, The Dare and The Apartment Upstairs. The Rumour was the highest selling crime fiction debut of 2019 in the UK, and a Kindle No.1 bestseller. Lesley is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She lives in Kent.

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