Home Before Dark (Riley Sager)

Rating: 4 Stars

Maggie Holt’s family moves into Baneberry Hall when she’s five years old. Her family only stays in the house for only 20 days before they’re run out by ghosts. The house is haunted. Mysterious sounds are heard at night, record players and lights are turned on even after they were shut off before bed. And Maggie sees ghosts – Mister Shadow (a terrifying man), Miss Pennyface (an older woman with pennies for eyes), and a young girl with no name.

Ewan Holt (Maggie’s father) winds up writing an incredibly successful book about the haunting of Baneberry Hall and its past histories of mysterious deaths which makes the family infamous.

After fleeing the house, Maggie’s parents refuse to admit the book is a lie and nothing that was written in it was true but her entire life her parents refuse to speak of the house or the book.

It isn’t until Maggie’s father passes away that she’s left with his entire estate – including Baneberry Hall, which she thought they’d sold after they left. She had no idea her father still owned it. And if her father refused to tell her the truth about their time in Baneberry Hall before he died, and her mother refuses to speak of it, Maggie knows she has to go to the house again (despite not remembering a single thing from her time there) to renovate it, in order to sell it, but more importantly – Maggie wants to find out the truth about Baneberry Hall.

This book is the first book since Final Girls from Sager that was absolutely stunning. The plot was fantastic, the writing was wonderful, and I didn’t see the ending coming until I was smack in the middle of it.

Final Girls is still my favourite book by Sager but this one is a very close contender. Where Lock Every Door and The Last Time I Lied were decent books, his first book and this most recent one are the two I would recommended to anyone looking for a fantastic thriller.

It was worth the wait for this one and I loved it. I also really loved that it was told half through Maggie’s point of view in the present, as well as the actual book, House of Horrors that her father wrote. So you get this ghost story of a haunted house and then you also get Maggie, twenty-five years later, back in this house she has no memory of ever living in, and who only knows the version her father wrote about, and not the actual truth about what happened.

I loved that House of Horrors wasn’t simply mentioned in random places as quotes. It was basically written and mixed in through alternating chapters. So you get the only memories Maggie has – the one’s she learned about through the book – as well as the truth behind everything Maggie is digging in to.

Just amazing. Pick it up. Read it!

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