Amy Imogene Reads's Reviews > Home Before Dark

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arcs-reviewed, mystery-thriller, read-in-2020

4.5 stars

A haunted house, a family with too many secrets, a woman caught in the crossfire. Many years later, it's time for her to come home and deal with the remnants of her past.

Concept: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Enjoyment: ★★★★★
Final, final ending: ★★★★

This DELIVERED. I was gripped for the entire read. I was surprised at points and not at others. I had a heck of a good time reading it in one sitting.

Maggie Holt grew up in the shadow of The Book. A haunted "nonfiction" account of one family's few weeks of horror in a haunted mansion, The Book was written by her journalist father when Maggie was very small. It captured the weeks that their family lived in Baneberry Hall and experienced the most terrifying time of their lives.

Or so the world believes.

Maggie, now a grown woman, believes The Book was a clever piece of fiction that her father wrote for money. The fact that she remembers nothing of her time in Baneberry Hall—good or bad—speaks to that fact. (Well, except for her lingering night terrors, which hang with her to this day...)

So when her father dies and shocks Maggie with the deed to Baneberry Hall, Maggie knows that now, finally, it's her turn. It's her turn to find out the truth about her past and reclaim her childhood in the eyes of the public. And time to lay old ghosts to rest, permanently.

But Baneberry Hall isn't ready to give Maggie up yet, and something is determined to go bump in the night...

What if The Book wasn't a lie after all?

What I loved:
I say this every time I read a Riley Sager book: I loved the writing. There's something to be said for a story that doesn't skimp on facts and yet doesn't overuse its details. This was another Sager novel that I read in one sitting late one stormy night (if you can control your weather, I highly recommend that experience). It's moody, it's dark, it's spooky. It's also a story within a story, with spliced sections of Maggie's POV in the present and spliced chapters of The Book itself recounting the past. I loved that element too—talk about a tried and true method of creating suspense. And also, the elephant in the room, I'm a sucker for haunted houses so I was, at a minimum, going to enjoy this novel for that element alone. Which I did.

What I didn't love:
The only thing I didn't love is a small spoiler from the very end. It wasn't enough to tip me from 5 stars to 4, but it was just enough that I went, aw, really? Really? Because this novel would have been perfection if it had done one more thing. I don't want to include it here because some folks will read it and then the story won't work for them the same way, but for those who have read it: (view spoiler)

Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Reading Progress

October 21, 2019 – Shelved
October 21, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
June 27, 2020 – Started Reading
June 27, 2020 –
page 164
42.71%
June 27, 2020 –
page 191
49.74% "WELL then."
June 27, 2020 – Finished Reading
June 29, 2020 – Shelved as: arcs-reviewed
June 29, 2020 – Shelved as: mystery-thriller
June 29, 2020 – Shelved as: read-in-2020

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Enjoy!


message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Imogene Reads Dita wrote: "Enjoy!"

Thanks! 😊 Have you read/do you plan on reading? Would love to know your thoughts


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

No. Riley and I only get along from time to time so I am waiting for a few friends I trust, ahem, like you, to give it a whack first. 😬


message 4: by Amy (last edited Jun 24, 2020 12:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Imogene Reads Dita wrote: "No. Riley and I only get along from time to time so I am waiting for a few friends I trust, ahem, like you, to give it a whack first. 😬"

Haha, I get that! 😂 Also, aw, thanks friend. I use your thriller reviews to really hone in on the genre so the thanks goes both ways!


Chelsea Moreen I thought the same about the little girl ghost, was it Indigo or not real? Did I miss something about that at the end otl


message 6: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Imogene Reads Chelsea wrote: "I thought the same about the little girl ghost, was it Indigo or not real? Did I miss something about that at the end otl"

Yes! Same here. I think it was either a badly done intentional question mark meant for the end, or a sloppy miss by Sager. Who knows - if he'd just gone that extra step to make it spookier, it would have been amazing.


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