Thanks to Dutton for the free early copies in exchange for our honest reviews
HOME BEFORE DARK – Riley Sager (Released June 30th, 2020)
What was it like? Living in that house.
Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.
Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.
In the latest thriller from New York Times bestseller Riley Sager, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound—and dangerous—secrets hidden within its walls?
Chandra’s Thoughts: 4/5 stars
A book within a book is a hit or miss for me sometimes and it was a definite HIT for me in Home Before Dark. Combine that with some unreliable narrators, dual timelines and riveting pages that keep you flipping them until the wee hours…. and you get another winning book from Sager.
How comfortable would you be about inheriting a house that was a part of your family, considered haunted and which your father’s famous book is about…. that can’t possibly be true? Old houses scare the begeezuz out of me but I also love that rush. I’m not entirely sure I could handle one by myself…. and Sager gives us some flesh crawling moments.
“You are sixteen… going on…..” I cannot get this damn song out of my head now! Grrr
Sager is an autobuy author and I am always thrilled to see a new book come out. Run thriller vibes along with some horror tones, and I am one happy girl. While ghost stories are hit or miss for me, I am always attracted to these reads. And if Sager write it, I’m gonna read it.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
The fourth novel from Riley Sager and its another win for me! Another unique and twisty suspenseful read that kept my attention from cover to cover. While HOME BEFORE DARK isn’t my favorite of his four novels, it’s still one I absolutely recommend picking up.
Maggie is left Baneberry Hall – a home that she and her parents lived in for only three weeks before fleeing. Her father ended up publishing a book about the horrors and events that they endured during their time there. A story that ended up surpassing The Amityville Horror in popularity, but it also brought with it a ton of skepticism, because there’s no way it could possibly be true.
Now that Maggie professionally restores old homes, she has returned to fix up the place to sell it. Of course, the small Vermont town isn’t entirely welcoming and people from the past begin to surface. Why would Maggie be concerned? She was so young and remembers nothing of her time there and ghosts and ghouls aren’t real.
We get two POVs – present day and then excerpts from a book written by Maggie’s father about their experiences in Baneberry Hall. As things begin to mirror each other it dawns on her that maybe there was some truth to what her parents experienced. This had an incredible gothic feel throughout the book and just an eerie overall tone.
Another solid release from Sager and he continues to solidify his place as an auto-buy author for me. If you’re looking for creepy and addictive reads, then look no further! I highly recommend any and all of his books.