Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager


Rating: ☆☆☆☆1/2
Title: Home Before Dark
Author: Riley Sager
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Horror
Audience: Adult
Format: Hardcover
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Source: Book of the Month subscription
Recommended for Fans of: haunted houses


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?


Riley Sager’s latest was SO spooky and creepy. In typical Sager fashion, this thriller is quasi-horror and heavy on mysterious twists and turns. I was legitimately scared while reading this haunted house story, waiting til the next morning to finish this book because I was too scared to read it late at night.

I loved the dual narratives and book-within-a-book alternating chapters between Maggie’s present day and her father’s book. The parallels between their experiences really creeped me out, and I was fully invested in both narratives. I was hooked from the very beginning and couldn’t put this book down.

I did predict a few details about the ending, but I was still surprised by how all the pieces fit together. I wasn’t totally satisfied with all of the explanations at the end, but overall I loved the experience of reading this book. Home Before Dark is a must read for thriller readers who love horror movies.

Author: Caroline | Carolibrary

Hello! I’m Caroline! I am a teacher, a book lover, and a nerd. My passions include reading, writing, bookstagram, barre & yoga, baking, binging TV shows, and Star Wars. I love stories in all formats because they can transport you to a different world while helping you understand the world around you. I have always found books to be a particularly magical source of imagination.

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