Saturday, August 22, 2020

Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

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?

Hardcover, 409 pages
Published June 30th 2020 
by Dutton Books

This is my second Riley Sager book, The Last Time I Lied was my first - loved it!

There are 2 different story lines going on. From Maggie’s pov it’s her story as she returns to Baneberry Hall, an abandoned building that used to be home until the family fled in the middle of the night over 20 years ago. Is it haunted? Maggie has very little recollection and the book her father penned, House of Horrors is too unbelievable to be true (that’s the other pov).

My inner voice was already telling Maggie not to return, but alas no one in bookland ever listens when I give my opinions.

This book was darker then Lied, it had that tension, suspense feel throughout. ‘Every house has a story’ and what a story it was. As I dove deeper into the book I honestly I had a hard time figuring things out. The book within the book was a nice touch. Yes I was creeped out a few times, I gave up trying to predict the ending and just enjoyed the ride - through a few times enjoyed wasn’t exactly the term that conveyed my feelings. Atmospheric and tension filled is a good description for this book that I finished off in a couple days.

My reading likes have changed during this pandemic, I find myself reading more thriller, suspense books. These two Riley Sager books fit the bill nicely.

‘My copy obtained from the public library’

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