Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager


Release date: June 30, 2020

Publisher: Dutton

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


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.


As a longtime RS fan I have to start by saying I think this may be his best yet, you’ve got a suspenseful storyline with the added bonus of a creepy AF haunted house, a book within a book AND two timelines. There is something about the authors style that is truly his own, there’s a scariness of the type that gives you legit goosebumps, coupled with a taut and twisty plot that always seems to leave my head spinning and this was no exception.

Per usual one of the best aspects of this is the setting, did I mention there’s a haunted house?! There is such scary, well crafted atmosphere in this setting that by the time I finished it I was convinced my own house was haunted. I’m not really gonna get into the plot because it’s best left discovered on your own, but I will say that the flipping back and forth between the book House of Horrors and Maggie in present day was fantastic, especially as Maggie’s experiences started to mirror what had happened at Baneberry Hall when she was a kid, SO creepy! Definitely another hit from the author, especially if you like a thriller with a supernatural touch.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

5 thoughts on “Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

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