ARC Review | Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Publication Date: June 30th, 2020
ARC from Netgalley

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?

| Book Review |

To give you a little background on my reading relationship with Riley Sager, he was an author I’d pretty much written off after DNFing Final Girls. But after the Lock Every Door was getting ALL THE HYPE, I, one who isn’t typically drawn by that, had just read a string of really good Mystery/Thrillers and tried, once again, to jump on the bandwagon. I elbowed my way in and made room for myself, because Lock Every Door was everything I wanted it to be and more! So, of course I was going to read Home Before Dark. And what a thrilling ride this was! The story is relayed from two different narrators – Maggie, when she returns to Baneberry Hall in the present day, and her father, via his best selling novel chronicling their short-lived time at the residence. It was an interesting way to tell this story, and I could never wait to return to each POV to find out what happened next!

When her father dies, Maggie Holt is shocked to learn that she’s inherited Baneberry Hall, the bane of her existence. After her family left Baneberry Hall with an immense amount of fanfare when she was a little girl, their experience in the house as a family was turned into a bestseller of a book. And much like the events that took place there, the book has haunted Maggie her entire life. Maggie returns to Baneberry Hall to restore it so she can rid herself of the residence once and for all, but the longer she’s at Baneberry Hall, the more she believes the spooky story in the pages she’d always assumed her father had exaggerated. This book was such a fun ride. The atmosphere the author created here was phenomenal; I was so creeped out that even though I wanted to put it down when darkness fell, I just couldn’t. It was so all consuming that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. There were some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and I was constantly on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to transpire. It was just so exciting! Also, props for this cover. Not only is it stunning, but the chandelier plays a prominent part in the story, and I love that the publisher took that into consideration and made it center stage on the cover.

I will say that while I absolutely loved this story and felt like the journey was a five star ride, I found the end to be a bit anticlimactic. While I may not have predicted it, it wasn’t that surprising, and for as exhilarating as the story was, I wish the end had been, too.

At this point, I will definitely be going back to give Final Girls another chance. With the way this author writes, I can’t help but feel like it was my ‘newness’ to the genre that may have had me not enjoying the book as much as I wanted to. While Lock Every Door solidified Riley Sager as an autobuy for me, Home Before Dark made me even more excited for what this author has in store for readers next. I am in it for the long haul!

| Rating |

10 thoughts on “ARC Review | Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Add yours

  1. That is so cool how you took a chance after the DNF and the next ones were golden. Haha, I’ve had mysteries do that leaving me feeling ‘is that all?”

    Liked by 1 person

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