Cover Image: The Enigma of Room 622

The Enigma of Room 622

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

⭐ -- The cover is very cool on this one!!

I threw in the towel on this one at about 30%. Unfortunately it just wasn't holding my attention, and life is too short to spend it trying to finish books that are not working. 🤷🏻‍♀️

**ARC Via NetGalley**
Was this review helpful?
An unsolved murder in a hotel sounds like the perfect premise of a novel. Couple it with Joël Dicker, Switzerland's most famous literary star and a wonderfully intricate plot and this is the perfect read for thriller lovers who like their novels complicated and forensically plotted.
Was this review helpful?
Rating: 2.5 stars. 

I found this book too long and a little too convoluted. I enjoy a thriller, particularly one that you can't easy figure out, but the twists here were just too contrived for my taste. I read through to the end, as I needed closure, but the pace is rather slow and I didn't warm to the characters.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this, The Enigma of Room 622’ written by Joël Dicker. and translated from French by Robert Bononno.

I really enjoyed this a lot more than I expected, and my one word to describe this is just "wow!". There are many twists in this story, that I find hard to explain without giving away the ending.

Joël Dicker is staying at the Hotel Verbier, in the Swiss Alps, there he begins to write his next novel as well as to get over a bad breakup and mourn the death of Bernard, his longtime publisher. After being shown to his room, 623, he finds himself fascinated with the room sequence of 620, 621, 621a, and 623. His questions are evaded when asked about why this has happened.

He later meets Scarlett Leonas, another guest at the hotel, and she joins him on his quest to uncover the truth about room 622, which leads them to an unsolved murder.

It is from around this point that the story jumps between Joël, and flashbacks and further flashbacks of the events that lead up to the murder.

If you enjoy mystery thrillers with a twist, this is a must read.
Was this review helpful?
With 12 million books sold worldwide, Swiss author Joël Dicker is a global success and one of the most popular authors in the French-speaking world. His road to fame began in 2010 when he was awarded the Geneva Writers’ Prize for unpublished manuscripts, and Parisian editor Bernard de Fallois purchased the rights to publish his winning submission. A few months later, de Fallois released the book that made Dicker famous, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, which in turn became a film. Bernard de Fallois died in 2018, and with The Enigma of Room 622 Dicker pays homage to his publisher, mentor and friend.

Full review: and
Was this review helpful?
A highly original crime fiction! This novel starts off with an author within the story who is struggling to write a novel, and this character has the same name as the actual author; Joël. Joël sets off to a hotel in the Swiss alps, where he comes across a mystery surrounding one of the hotel rooms, where a man was murdered. Another guest of the hotel, a Ms Scarlett Leonas, convinces Joël to help her find out what happened - and to write a book about it. From there, we get into the true heart of the novel - a mystery surrounding a death connected to an important Swiss bank, and the characters of Macaire, Lev, and Anastasia. Macaire is the disinherited son of the president of the bank, married to Anastasia, and Lev is his rival - in more ways than one. In a different strand, Joël and Scarlett investigate at one remove the events that happened many years earlier, to Macaire, Lev and Anastasia. This book is so long and so complicated that it almost takes away from some of the originality and made it slightly arduous, but the incredibly tangled plot is also one of the highlights of the book - there are multiple plot twists and the originality of these twists means that it’s almost impossible to know where it’s going to take you next. For most of the book, infuriatingly, we don’t even know who the murder victim is. Some of the twists towards the end are really fantastic - in particular those relating to the enigmatic banking star, Lev. Glad I read this, it was different!

My thanks to #NetGalley and Quercus Books for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
As a general overview of this book, I thought it was alright I didn’t give up about the 5% mark but I decided to give it more of a go just because I got it as an advanced copy, and to give up with that as the understanding felt unfair. Once I’d battled through a little bit longer, I began to enjoy the book a lot more however I didn't like it enough that to make me want to go and buy my own copy or to investigate any of the authors other works.
The biggest issue I had with the start of this book was the way that it portrays women. This issue does continue later on but to a lesser extent. All the women in this book are seen as Incredibly attractive people who want nothing more than to sleep with which ever character they are supposed to be in love with. They don't seem to have any other personalities, all goals other than to be an appendage to somebody else. Furthermore, they are all so stunningly beautiful with that, whichever man they go, “I want that one” instantly wants her in return, just by looking at her. Everyone agrees that she's wonderful and is very attractive and it is very painful to read. Even the one woman who is not portrayed as a love interest who is the assistant to the author who features in this book in - a thing I'm going to get him in a minute - is still expected to centre her life around him. I feel like this is best summed up in the quote. “Joël, I'm not going to cancel my holiday because your girlfriend dumped you.”
The author appears in this book in a slightly confusing way. He is writing a book to commemorate his recently deceased publisher friend, but then gets distracted, goes on holiday, and writes the book, the enigma of Room 622. However, towards the end of the book we realised the half of what happens in that didn't even happen then. It's a book within a book within a book. In the immediate fictional world and the subsequent one that is revealed at the end. He falls in love with these ridiculously attractive women who just idolise him and allow him to play this sort of clever, suave, dapper gentleman hero. And I think it comes off quite poorly. I would struggle reading this with any other character, but for this to be the author, or a representation there of, just makes it all less palatable, and is the main reason I nearly gave up on reading this book.
Once we finally make our way to the actual mystery, we experience a number of time jumps and different points of view. These give a much more rounded view of the story, you can see everything, every scene is shown from multiple different angles. But you do get the sense that there is unreliable narration as the narrative twists. It feels like not all of these contradictory stories can be true. Sometimes they are, it's just that there is another point of view that we won't get through for another couple of chapters that gives us information that neither of the previous characters had access to. It did, however, make it slightly hard to understand. Who knows what? When did  they know it? And who knows that they know that? 
The mystery at the heart of this is about the fight for who becomes the president of a Swiss bank. Personally, I don't particularly care. I found that I had little investment in the source of conflict in this book. It's hard to feel sorry for someone who, if things go badly, just has to retire on their millions. I also feel like half of the complex. In this. Could be resolved if people sat down in a neutral place and had proper conversations like grown-ups. It wouldn't solve all the problems in this novel, but probably would deescalate things enough so that people didn't feel like they had to resort to murder.
There was also some inconsistencies with being able to keep track of people. There were too many people whose locations and motives changed every 30 seconds. I did finally guess who did it, but only because I slightly ran out of other people. Everyone is tide up 6 million different ways of why they could or couldn't be the murderer, based on evidence that they might reveal if you ask them nicely, and it's Tuesday, and it's raining in France. However, towards the end there was one character who seemed. Oddly absent and I went oh, it's them, that’s why they’re oddly absent. Funny enough, it was them, that’s why they were oddly absent. There were a few other surprises that whilst I could not. Predict the exact details of, I did get the general idea, and my answer would have led to the same end results. It felt like the author was trying to be too clever, to the point where we feel familiar with crime fiction than it's just obvious. A lot of the reviews talk about this book paying homage to various crime writers. However, if you pay homage too much, you just end up taking their best ideas and you just need someone who knows what they are to be able to see through what you're doing. I think that the ideas in this book have been done better in across different works by different authors.
There were also two lines the I want to talk about. I think that they  are important in shaping how  you view the author as opposed to the characters. Neither of these lines are important enough that they could not be removed from the book, and they aren't reflected upon in any way that provides philosophical insight or really affected how I saw the characters. They just make me think that the author was a bit of a dick. One is a casually anti sematic line said by women we already dislike, and this does not add to our disapproval of her in anyway. It never comes up again. There are other things she could have said that was more in keeping with what we already know about her that personally I think would have been less offensive. I get why an insult or derogatory comment was put here and that type of sentence works absolutely. It didn't need to be the line that it was. I'm not going to say the line because I don't wish to have a clip of me saying it which can then be taken out of context. 
The second line, however I is less bad at a literal level but the ideology it purports, I think is bad. The line is “she deserved to be a servant for having such poor judgement”. There are better ways of phrasing what was meant to be said. You can make different comments and things but given that this woman is not shown to have particularly poor judgement. Just the idea that only rich people can have good judgement is bad enough. But then furthermore the fact that the woman she is comparing herself to in this situation has worse judgement. Really doesn't make the point that the character is trying to make. It just shows to me that the author has no respect for people who work ridiculously hard and do manual labour for a living.

At the end of the day, I feel like this same murder mystery could have been written so much better had things like chronology and points of view been arranged differently. So that I didn't just feel like I was being deliberately kept in the dark by the author. If the story had been told in a way where I felt like it was the characters tricking me, I get that. Having the author be like, oh, I'm just going to put this flashback here now, even though we're not talking to these characters. They are, not revealing this conversation the author is, made me feel like the author didn't have confidence in their own mystery. 
I've also never seen. A group of people who love their jobs so much. Those who have family legacies at stake, I get a bit feeling some understanding towards, but the idea of wanting to be president of a company that you don't care for? I don’t get that. It's just your name on the building that you feel attachment to. I get that family is important to people, but I don’t think that it should come at this cost. Also, in most of these cases they’re the family that they're trying to impress, the legacy they're trying to live up to is still going. They aren’t trying to do it for the memory of someone, they're trying to do it to impress that person who is still living, you can have the conversations you need to have you can put in the work now, there is no need to cause all of this chaos. 
Half of the characters in this book are portrayed as like super geniuses who can play everybody like a fiddle, and the other half are seen as incredibly stupid, and are their fiddles that are being played. I think it's quite interesting seeing who gets portrayed as who, and when. As it stands, I just think everyone is a little bit stupid. If you're looking for a crime novel somewhere, and this is
Was this review helpful?
This is my first Joel Dicker book and I was very excited to read it but sadly it has all fell a bit flat for me and I am DNF'ing at 30%.

I have been trying to read this for almost two weeks and between the slow pace, boring characters and the switching timelines I am struggling to follow, I no longer feel driven to pick it up.

Looking at the other reviews it seems you either love it or hate it so please don't let me put you off picking it up.  I really hope others enjoy it!
Was this review helpful?
I was very excited to read this one. The premise was definitely interesting and I went into it with high expectations.
Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into the writing to be honest. It didn't pull me in and I struggled to motivate myself to pick it back up. 
I really appreciate getting a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, so I absolutely wanted to provide one. Sadly, at the end of the day, I wasn't engaged and decided to stop at 15%. 
I'm disappointed...maybe this would have worked better on audio with a narrator that could create that engagement and I wouldn't consider the writing so much.
I have to attach a rating to this, but I would rather consider this aa blank as I don't believe I read enough.
Was this review helpful?
Before I continue this review, I should say that I have read previous books by this author and enjoyed them.  Yes, like this novel, they were long and complex and character driven.  Again, like this one, the plot of the previous novels were convuluted, the pace slow and there were plot twists.  So, I was looking forward to reading his latest.  Like other books, the author features as a character within the book.  He is the author who, bemoaning the death of his publisher, and the break up of a relationship, heads off for a trip at the Hotel de Verbier and discovers the mystery of Room 622, renumbered because of an unsolved murder.  Enter attractive woman in the next room, who recognises him and who suggests they investigate.  I enjoyed this plot device, one that Anthony Horowitz uses to great effect in his excellent Hawthorne series.  However, this is not used as well here, with the majority of the storyline criss-crossing time periods from fifteen years before the murder to the aftermath.

The novel involves Swiss bankers and a trio of characters, two men, both in love with the same woman.  All of these characters  are damaged in some way.   The woman, Anastasia,  has a social climbing mother who is absolutely, shamefully horrible.   Macaire Ebezner's family own the Ebezner bank and he is involved in an attempt to become President.  The other man, Lev Levovitch,  also works at the bank and both are in love with Anastasia.   I would not be giving away any plot twists if I said that nobody is who you think they are, because the plot is so complicated and bizarre  that I found it not only difficult to follow but I have to admit that I found it both unbelieavable and yet fairly tedious in parts.  I don't mind books where I don't like the characters, I don't need to like them, but I do need to care what happens to them and with this novel I just didn't.    

Some of this was interesting and, had I just read the first third and stopped there, I probably would have given this four stars.  However, having dragged myself to the end, I can't convince myself it was worth the effort, so somewhat disappointing and also, I suspect, the translation did not help with some very stilted dialogue.   If you want to try Joel Dicker, I wouldn't make this your first read, but I have enjoyed his previous books enough to try again.
Was this review helpful?
I requested this ARC based on the cool cover and the premise of the unsolved hotel murder. Sadly I did not like this book at all. I have decided to DNF at 30% in because it was putting me in a reading slump. I thought the characters were chiché and unsympathetic, the writing felt very old fashioned and the corporate banking setting didn’t interest me much. It’s also very slow paced, I think the story might have benefited from being edited into a much shorter book.
Was this review helpful?
“According to Bernard, a great novel is a painting–a world offered to the reader who allows herself to be wrapped up in the immense illusion created by the author’s brushstrokes. .”

My thanks to Quercus Books MacLehose Press for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Enigma of Room 622’ by Joël Dicker. It was translated from the French by Robert Bononno.

My first thought about this book is that it was like a nested Russian doll, being a book within a book, within a book. The plot is twisty and rather difficult to summarise, though I will give an overview for context.

Writer Joël Dicker, Switzerland's most famous literary star, (and definitely not a self-effacing one) is staying at the Hotel Verbier, a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps. He is there to begin writing his next novel as well as to get over a bad breakup and mourn the death of Bernard, his longtime publisher. 

He is intrigued when shown to Room 623, that the sequence was 620, 621, 621a, 623. He enquires what happened to Room 622 and receives an evasive answer. 

The next day he is introduced to Scarlett Leonas, a fellow guest, who is an aspiring writer and becomes something of a muse to Joël. She also is interested in Room 622 and uncovers the reason for its erasure - an unsolved murder from years ago. They decide to do their own investigation.

The narrative moves between their perspectives in 2018 and the past where in the wake of his father's death Macaire Ebezner is set to take over as president of the largest private bank in Switzerland. 
Macaire is shocked to learn that the bank's board is planning to appoint Lev Levovitch, Geneva's answer to Jay Gatsby, ­in his place. The reasons for the appointment and other mysteries are slowly revealed against the backdrop of the secretive world of Swiss banking. 

This was a complex novel and demanded a close reading. The text ends with a note from Robert Bononno on the challenges faced by the translator to give an authentic voice to foreign characters in a foreign country. 

Overall, I admired the cleverness of this novel with its nesting format. As in the quote above, I felt that Dicker was very like a painter utilising words to immerse his readers in his creation. He took what could have been a fairly conventional financial thriller and switched it up with this expansion into meta fiction that blurred the lines between reality and fiction. 

Due to its structure ‘The Enigma of Room 622’ may well be the kind of novel that polarises readers. However, it was a hit with me and I was entertained by Dicker’s bold self insertion. If I was to compare him to a painter it would likely be M.C. Escher.
Was this review helpful?
A classic Marmite book that you love or hate. I loved it because it's very unusual and intriguing. I read it before sleeping and dreamt about the characters as I found them quite strong.
It's a complex story, a sort of metamistery with a book in a book. Good plotting and character development.
The author is a talented storyteller and didn't disappoint.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Was this review helpful?
I really liked The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair, but unfortunately his latest novel fell flat for me. There were too many characters and timezones which I kept mixing up and the mystery element was not that intriguing to me.
Was this review helpful?
Having to do a half way through review, as I can’t keep my thoughts to myself! I’m LOVING this so much! The character building, the suspense building, the overall theme of the whole book. Truly truly loving it and couldn’t recommend more!!
Was this review helpful?
Looking at other reviews, this book is a bit marmite... Me, I loved it! It reminded me a bit of Horowitz books - both the book in a book thing and also the author is a character too... But there the similarity ends...
We follow Joel Dicker, author, as he runs away to a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps to get over a bad breakup as well as mourn the loss of his longtime publisher and close friend. There he is intrigued to find there is no room 622. He asks the hotel employees and gets no decent answer. But he does find himself a sidekick in the form of Scarlet - an aspiring novelist staying in the room next to his - who eggs him into turning the mystery into a plot point for his next novel... off they both go to investigate...
And so begins a bonkers (and I mean that kindly) story of murder when years ago, a corpse is discovered in room 622 of Hotel Verbier. A story about a bank and the succession of presidents. Of love and affairs. Of secrets and lies. And death. Of twists and turns and outrageous duplicity. All keeping me entertained during its many many pages. No honestly it really didn't feel that long of a book once I really got going.
Yes I rolled my eyes - lots. Yes I sniggered at the sheer audacity of the author and his bait and switch. Pay attention to every little detail along the way - they clues are all there... And you will probably kick yourself...
But to be honest. If you don't take it too seriously - it's definitely not literary fiction - and just sit back and enjoy yourself - you'll be in for one heck of a ride...
One thing though - I can't understand why the gimmick of the author being included in the book? The mystery of the corpse in room 622 would have made a decent enough book in its own right without the embellishment, and be a heck of a lot shorter! Can't help thinking it was written straight for miniseries adaptation... definitely had that feel...
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
Having enjoyed his previous books this was sadly a disappointment. I am not sure it is worth indulging the author in such a long book, it doesn't justify it. Take out some of the convoluted material, the repetitious bits and give us something more manageable please. Some of this may be in the translation but this wouldn't add the excess 200 pages the book didn't need. Not a particularly engaging nor novel plot, his writing has been so much better I think that is why I was so nonplussed.
Was this review helpful?
I am a fan of Joel Dicker since I read “The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair” years ago. But I must admit that none of his following books reached the same magic and quality for me. But I still enjoyed them. So I was very eager to get my hands on his newest book.

Dicker loves to mix fiction and real life in his books. He lost his fatherly friend and publisher who believed in him and helped to make his first book into a huge success. “The Enigma of Room 622” is a memorial to him. Dicker travels to Verbier, Switzerland, and stays at a famous luxury hotel. Here he gets involved in an old murder case. Someone was killed in room 622 and the case was never solved. The story then soon jumps back and forth between the time shortly before and fifteen years before the murder. And of course sometimes we see Dicker trying to solve the case in the present. And there are many other flashbacks. Towards the end I got a bit confused. 

I enjoyed this book but it is, like all books from Dicker, very long and detailed. It has a very old-fashioned style about it. I am not sure how much time passed for the protagonists but I think not as much as it felt. The characters in the past feel like they just fell out of a screwball comedy from Hollywood in 1940. Women are very passive and the main female character, Anastasia, stays with her mother until she is in her mid-twenties waiting to finally get married. Anastasia is a very fickle character. She is just not able to make up her mind.  And the protagonists don’t talk properly to each other and kept secrets from each other which sometimes seemed to be absolutely unnecessary. And I did not like how she was treated like an object from Lev,  the man she loves. It really felt very old fashioned to me. 

As I said, the book is a memorial for Dickers old friend. Besides that it is a story about a book in a book then Dicker writes this story as we read it. But it is not clear what is real and what is only in the imagination of the author. You never know who’s the victim and who’s the culprit. It’s a story about a pact with the devil. All the little pieces and hints in the book fall into place towards the end. It is a cleverly plotted and sophisticated story. I am looking forward to his next book.
Was this review helpful?
Now the story is quite convoluted and quite confusing the more you get to read it as there's multiple stories intertwined. For me, this book is way too long and it has baffled me quite a bit, but overall the writing was good, the characters quite interesting even if the plot (or plots) were quite hard to get a grasp on. Overall enjoyed it though, but did not blow me away.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you very much to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to produce this review. 

I admit that I picked this book up because of its mesmerising cover and blurb - who doesn't love a good mystery suspense? An unsolved murder at an enigmatic hotel in the Swiss Alps?! BRING IT ON. 

I mean, just LOOK at this blurb? If that isn't enough to bury your nose in the book, I don't know what is:

"A burnt-out writers’ retreat at a grand hotel is interrupted by a murder mystery in this metafictional, meticulously crafted whodunit from internationally bestselling author Joël Dicker. One night in December, a corpse is discovered in Room 622 of the Hotel Verbier, a luxury resort in the Swiss Alps. The murder is never solved. Years later, Joël Dicker, Switzerland’s most famous writer, flees to Verbier to recover from a breakup, mourn the death of his longtime publisher, and begin his next novel. Little does Joël know that his page-turning expertise will prove essential when he assumes a new role: detective. Meanwhile, Macaire Ebezner is set to succeed as president of the largest private bank in Switzerland. The succession captivates the media, but the bank’s board, including a certain Lev Levovitch “Geneva’s Gatsby” are not as charmed by the heir apparent, and Macaire’s race to the top soon becomes a race against time…A European phenomenon, The Enigma of Room 622 is a matryoshka doll of intrigue, built with the precision of a Swiss watch. Joël Dicker presents a diabolically addictive thriller whose twists and turns no reader will see coming."

However, this was more of a disappointment than anything else. The book tried to be cleverer than it was. The writing style was overly verbose, the dialogue felt a little too unrealistic (was this a translation issue?), the non-linearity of the plot ended up being incredibly difficult to follow. You may enjoy this more if you set yourself a big chunk of time to read through each line slowly, trying to suspend your disbelief and decipher each storyline and arc, but unfortunately the style just didn't agree with me.
Was this review helpful?