Sunday, June 28, 2020

Review - Home Before Dark

Title:   Home Before Dark
Author:  Riley Sager
Publisher:  Dutton Books
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   June 30, 2020
My Rating:   5 Stars

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?

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. 


This was an exciting ARC for me to get. I wasn’t prepared to be totally freaked out, however! What happened in Maggie’s home when she was a child and what about now that she is an adult and back at that very house? 

When Maggie is handed her father's estate after his passing, she is shocked to discover that the home she lived in as a child, Banberry Hall, located in Vermont, was left to her. Her memories of her time in that house were not pleasant - too put it lightly - and as far as she could remember, her parents said that it was a place that they would never, ever return to. So, how is it Banberry Hall is still in her father's name, and is hers right now?

Maggie is a designer, and pretty much a historian. She takes leave of her business for awhile in order to restore the house so that she can put it on the market. There is a magnanimous obstacle in her way however. The house, and by extension, her family, was made famous by a horror memoir her father wrote of the house. Maggie's memories are skewed, and she has always maintained that the book was fiction. There were no evil forces in the home, were they? What about now, when Maggie goes back to restore it?

People never lost interest in that house. Spectators and critics abound. As the story shifts back to when Maggie was five years old, which is when her parents, Ewan and Jess, bought the home, there were definitely some very spooky occurrences. There were even deaths connected to the house. And, the fact that her parents and Maggie only lasted a few weeks in the house? Well, what was it that drove them away?

Maggie begins to go through the house room by room, unearthing things that not only give her clues from her childhood, but also present creepy feelings that Maggie just cannot shake. Was there credence to her father's book after all?

This is the third book I've read by Riley Sager, with the other two being The Last Time I Liedand Lock Every Door*, so I am familiar with his style of writing. While the first two books were mostly incredibly intense suspense, he raised the bar really high with Home Before Dark. I am so glad that I read this book during the daytime! 

This thrilling, albeit creepy, read by Riley Sager definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and the conclusion literally knocked my socks off. There is just one book of his that I haven't read, Final Girls, and I will do so soon so that as I follow him, he becomes an author that I will proudly be able to say that I have read all of his books.

Many thanks to Dutton Books and to NetGalley for this ARC for review.  This is my honest opinion.

*reviews embedded


Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer.

Now a full-time writer, Riley is the author of FINAL GIRLS, an international bestseller that has been published in 25 languages, and the New York Times bestseller THE LAST TIME I LIED. His latest book, LOCK EVERY DOOR, will be published in July.

A native of Pennsylvania, Riley now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


  1. I loved the one Riley Sager book I read and am so excited to read this one. Excellent review!

  2. This is a new author to me. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This looks divine - I wants! Excellent review, Robin.

  4. Lovely review, new author to me

  5. I had thought from the cover it was going to be a creepy read. Glad you liked it. Great review.

  6. loved your review,, and though not read too many books like this, want to