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Home Before Dark

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  62,245 ratings  ·  10,212 reviews
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 ghostl
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published June 30th 2020 by Dutton Books
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Anne I think if you liked his earlier works, particularly "Lock Every Door," you'll find this to be a very satisfying read. I feel like some ghost stories …moreI think if you liked his earlier works, particularly "Lock Every Door," you'll find this to be a very satisfying read. I feel like some ghost stories can get lost in the weeds of the haunting (leaving me more confused than scared). Riley Sager does a nice job managing this whole tale. I found it clear cut, highly engaging, and the ending wasn't a let down.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  62,245 ratings  ·  10,212 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chelsea by: Dutton
"Every house has a story. Ours is a ghost story. It's also a lie. And now that yet another person has died within these walls, it's finally time to tell the truth."

Fellow Riley Sager junkies, you've waited so patiently for me to slip out of my Covid-19 induced anxiety, and I'm here to tell you that I've shaken the funk and am feeling passionately encouraged to word vomit my thoughts about this book. Before I get started, you need to know going in that this book has a slightly altered feel to his
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i spontaneously decided to do a bad reading vlog for the last hundred pgs of this sooooo hold tight for my thoughts and feels bc i…have them lol

edit: :)
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was so fun!!! Really good twists and a fun haunted house story
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
RILEY SAGER! You got me again!!

In my opinion, Home Before Dark is Sager's best work yet!!!

Also, I fully acknowledge that I have now exceeded my lifetime use of the exclamation point, but I assure you, in this case it is warranted.

I loved, loved, loved this story with my whole heart and soul. My favorite book of 2020!

Upon the death of her father, Maggie Holt, is shocked to discover she has just inherited Baneberry Hall, the allegedly haunted mansion her family abandoned some 25-years earlier.

Nilufer Ozmekik
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love an author’s vivid creativity and trying something unexpected to exceed his or her previous writing performances by taking a challenge and trying something brand new.

Riley Sager is one of the most brilliant authors raises the bars and waltz between genres and serves us fresh baked from oven kind of delicious, soul crushing, mind numbing, exhilarating, surprising stories with WTF I just read kind of twisty, the rug pulled out from your feet kind of endings.
This time he dances between horror
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-releases, arc
(3.75) Haunted house with a gothic feel are one of my guilty pleasure. This book had a strong start and even though I did figure out "who did it" it was still pretty good.

I did feel like the main female character was the biggest weakness. She didn't ring true to me and I cringed multiple times (any description of Dane, the mansplaining bit, the telling all her secrets after knowing him for 24h which gave me flashbacks of Lock Every Door...).

Not as good as The Last Time I Lied but an enjoyable fa
I loved every second of this creepy suspenseful story. It had the best Haunting of Hill House vibes that I've ever seen in a book and I was absolutely obsessed with the vibe of this book and I was genuinely scared at times and I might have slept with the lights on. Reading vlog just went up: ...more
chan ☆
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
this has “thriller of summer 2020” written all over it

i’ll say it, emphatically again, but i really think riley sager has proven that you can do a modern thriller in a way that doesn’t rely on cheating spouses. this book was so much fun.
daph pink ♡
2.25 stars✨

*Checks my watch* yes it's time for history's most unpopular opinions ?

Mr. Riley Sager Do you hear my angry sobs?

Yes I am disappointed. I was excepting so much from this book and it end up being a compilation of famous horror scenes from top horror movies and plot twists from top selling books like Shirley Jackson and Stephen king's Shining with ridiculously stupid ending!

It was my second most anticipated book of July. And here I am sitting and thinking how horribly can a author murde
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

Well I was looking for a book to take my mind off of what is going on in the world right now and this was definitely a great choice! I don’t know if I’m a true lover of ghost stories but I like great fiction with supernatural elements. This author once again has written a book that will be at the top of my list of best books of 2020/thrillers for sure.

The author has written a book within a book for this nov
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
4.5 stars!

Because this is a mood!

I thought it was a man, although I couldn’t be sure. Details were sparse. All I could make out was a distinctly human shape standing in the forest a few feet from the treeline.

I highly enjoyed this book! The creepiness of it, the 'what the hell' moments, they were just what I expected from Riley Sager. AND, naturally with his books, I went one way with all of the answers and he went somewhere else totally!

On to the next, Mr. Sager, I’m waiting .......

ELLIAS (elliasreads)
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
.......what the fuck just happened??!

Full RTC.

The hell.
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Unapologetic cover of Hill House until the very end, but in my opinion, not on same level as that classic.
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
okay, i know my mom has always said i have an overactive imagination, but this book legitimately freaked me out. i shouldnt have read this at night. 😱

this is definitely RSs best book so far. its not exactly fast paced, but the content is just sooo gripping. i love the back and forth between the events maggie is experiencing in the present and the narrative of her fathers book describing the events of 25 years ago. the writing feeds off of the readers imagination, so if you mentally imagine scene
Jul 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love it......

I did enjoy it, but I felt this book wasn't as good as his previous books. I do love a good haunted house/ghost story but found nothing scary about this book at all. So I am in the minority on this, but it failed to wow or shall I say scare me.

But it did entertain me. I just felt that some elements of the book fell flat. The Amityville Horror this is not. I did enjoy the book within a book concept and I thought he did pull that off nicely. Plus, there is a nice li
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hang on to your hat, your Ouija board, and stop thinking too much and you will be in for a spooky, twisty ride. Maggie Holt's father wrote a book about a house that the family lived in for twenty days, when Maggie was five years old. The experience was a horrible one and the family ran from the house, with just the clothes on their backs, leaving everything else behind, when they abandoned it. Her father than wrote a nonfiction book about the house and what happened during those twenty days but ...more
Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
Okay Riley you did have made it to my all time favorite thrillers list! I am sure he is so pleased..🤣🤣...You are now up on the ledge with Peter, Liz and last names needed, they are like Madonna.....No but really...this book just flew to the top of my must read books. I loved every single thing about this book...literally everything.

What made this book so special? The atmosphere. If you haven't read a Riley Sager book, he is the master of creating such an atmospheric feel
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My favorite Riley Sager book to date.
Creepy maybe haunted house.
Unfolding the mystery of said house with splices of the book the main character's dad wrote about the house.

At first glance this book sounds like horror but it's definitely a thriller that had me guessing.
I really loved it!
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book begins with a dedication...”For those who tell ghost stories...and those who believe them...” 👻

If this is on, as YOU WON’T be disappointed with Riley Sager’s latest-AVAILABLE NOW!

Maggie Holt has just inherited Baneberry Hall, a rambling estate set deep in the Vermont Woods.

Twenty Five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, fled this house in the dead of the night, leaving everything behind, after only 19 days in residence.


And, then THAT song...

“You are si
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: edelweiss-arc-s
When Maggie was just a child her parents purchased Baneberry Hall. Having left behind a cramped apartment in the city Baneberry Hall seemed like the ideal place to raise a family. However not soon after their purchase it appears that not all is well within the walls of Baneberry Hall. Strange noises fill the night and young Maggie has begun speaking to imaginary friends. Her father, a writer, becomes obsessed in the tragic history of Baneberry Hall and he is convinced that there are restless spi ...more
This is another book that I listened to with my wife during our “couch time” in the evenings. Nothing like curling up with someone you love and listening to a creepy story!

With Riley Sager, I have come to be able to count on a pretty decent thriller. Home Before Dark is no exception.

Chills, thrills, mystery, and mayhem are all included here. I enjoyed the format of going back and forth between a book written by one character about a mysterious and likely haunted house and another character’s ex
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
oooh, goodreads choice awards finalist for best mystery & thriller 2020! what will happen?



i mean…okay.

this is a rounded-up four because it has a whole bunch of problems, but for every iffy part, there’s a horrific and memorable scene that makes up for it. many of which involve snakes. to be honest, i’m happy enough just being entertained these days—i don’t need to be enriched or educated, i crave diversion, and this book absolutely fits
Joey R.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.0 stars— After reading all the great reviews of Riley Sager’s “ Home Before Dark” and realizing it was an old fashioned haunted house/ghost story I knew I had to read it. This was my first Sager book and after completing the novel in about a week, I have to say I was very impressed. The book is written from the perspective of Maggie Holt, who decides to return to live in and to renovate a famous haunted house she lived in when she was 5 years old. Her father had written a best selling book abo ...more
Holly  B
DNF at 63%

Really loved his last two novels, BUT

This one is just not working for me and I've tried finishing other books and coming back to it three separate times.

Sometimes its better just to move on.....
4.5 Amityville Horror-ish Vibe Stars!

Sager is a King of Spook and all I can say is that he seriously comes through with this book! We have a huge, secluded spooky house with lots of eerie noises and unexplained happenings and a woman in search of the truth of what happened there that caused her family to flee the house in the middle of the night and never return.

I love a good ghost story and this was GOOD! As Maggie Holt tries to unravel the house's mystery and her past we learn that this hous
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4+ gothic and atmospheric stars for my first book by Riley Sager!

Maggie Holt returns to the home her family abandoned twenty-five years earlier when she was five-years-old. Her father wrote a book that made her family famous. The book revealed the eerie and haunting experiences her family faced while living in the house. Maggie has no personal recollection of the happenings in the house that caused them to flee one night and never return. After inheriting the house, she wants to renovate and sel
Kelli Wilson
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shocks, Shudders, Snakes, and a Sledgehammer while Sound of Music plays loudly in the background! These are just a few of my favorite things from Riley Sager’s newest book, "Home Before Dark".

20 years ago, a family of three (father, mother & 5 year old daughter) moved into an estate which they believed to be their dream home. However, as soon as they came, they were leaving just as quickly. Having abruptly raced out, late one night and never returned claiming it was haunted. The father wrote a b
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, from-library
Every house has a story to tell and a secret to share.

Twenty-five years ago, five-year-old Maggie Holt and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent exactly twenty days there before fleeing in the middle of the night due to paranormal events Ewan later described in an Amityville Horror-style bestseller called House of Horrors.

But present-day Maggie remembers nothing from that time, and doesn’t believe anything in the book
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
When Maggie Holt is five years old her parents, Ewan and Jess buy Baneberry Hall in Vermont. It’s neglected, has quite a history from its construction in 1875 by William Garson but it’s cheap! Twenty days later they flee the house never to return. Ewan writes a book, ‘House of Horrors’, about their brief time there which becomes a best seller but it blights Maggie’s life especially as her recollections are not the same as her fathers. So whose memories are the accurate ones? Is the book a lie? H ...more

Ingredients for scaring the bajeezers out of me: spooky house with a history of spooky stuff ✅, spooky kids ✅, spooky adults✅, snakes ✅, thuds ✅, My mother-in-law. (Uhhh... ok 5 out of 6 🤷🏼‍♀️)

Shortest Summary Ever: Maggie Holt was 5 years old the last time she was in Baneberry Hall; it was in her mother’s arms as her family fled, terrified... never to return. So she thought. Her father wrote a bestseller about the incident and Maggie has spent her life claiming the book is all lies. Now sh
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Riley Sager is the award-winning pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer who previously published mysteries under his real name.

Now a full-time author, Riley's first thriller, FINAL GIRLS, became a national and international bestseller and was called "the first great thriller of 2017" by Stephen King. Translation rights have been sold in more than two dozen countries.


Articles featuring this book

As this strange summer of staying put winds down, one thing remains truer than ever: Books offer us endless adventure and new horizons to...
57 likes · 30 comments
“Grief is tricky like that. It can lie low for hours, long enough for magical thinking to take hold. Then, when you’re good and vulnerable, it will leap out at you like a fun-house skeleton, and all the pain you thought was gone comes roaring back.” 19 likes
“Every house has a story to tell.” 9 likes
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