Jan and I were definitely ready to climb on board the creepy train so when we were able to receive a copy of Riley Sager’s new book Home Before Dark, we were overjoyed. Having read a number of this author’s former books, we knew we were in for a chilling ride and once again Mr Sager did not disappoint us with his eerie, spooky, and spine tinkling novel.
If you inherited a haunted house would you live there? The house where you saw ghosts? Where, as a child, you were haunted by nightmares of Mr. Shadow and Miss Pennyface? The house that inspired the bestseller your father wrote after your family fled, leaving all your possessions behind, never to return? The book that brought you unwelcome attention and notoriety, the book that negatively defined your life?
Nope, not me. But Maggie does just that, despite warnings and a promise to her father to never go back. She was only 5 when their family fled in terror, but she knows the book was a giant hoax full of lies. Her plans now are to refurbish the property and sell it for a tidy profit.
From here, the book alternates chapters from the bestseller book her father wrote, to the current day events. Strange, creepy things are happening and despite her initial disbelief, Maggie increasingly begins to think the events her father recounted are true after all. Or is it possible that this is all Maggie’s imagination?
This is a fast-paced riveting tale that gave off strong gothic Amityville Horror vibes. It kept me flipping the pages anxious to find out what would happen next. But then, the ending. The ending was unnecessarily convoluted and disappointing.
Although the ending requires some suspension of disbelief, it’s still a fun read that was a nice distraction during these trying times. I could see it playing out as a spooky movie in my mind as I read.
· I received a digital copy of the book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
· This was a buddy read with my friend Marialyce, one we enjoyed, but we both were a bit disappointed with the ending.
I did enjoy this ghost/haunted house story that had shades of both The Amityville Horror, (which I lived only twenty minute away from!) and The Haunting of Hill House. It kept you guessing and for the first ninety percent I was glued to the story. The ending did let me down a tad but overall this was a riveting story that had much going for it.
Imagine having to leave your home because you knew that your child was in danger. Imagine living in a home that had many deaths occurring within its walls. Imagine owning a home that you thought you could never afford and yet, you can never truly live there for the secrets that lie there might be the end of all you know and cherish. Such was the dilemma and ultimate choice Ewan and Jess Holt, with their young daughter Maggie faced, after moving into Baneberry Hall, a secluded mansion in Vermont.
They were overjoyed and first, being able to have a home such as this. However, it became pretty clear after a while that they had gotten more, much more, than they bargained for as their daughter, Maggie, began to see apparitions one of which was Mr Shadows who seemed to emanate from a wardrobe in her room and tell her she was going to die. Other spirits seemed to lurk in the night terrifying Maggie and leaving her parents wondering what exactly they had gotten themselves into. There were other otherworldly occurrences and soon it became apparent they family could no longer stay there. They fled in the middle of the night, leaving everything behind, never to return. Later Ewan Holt wrote a best selling story of their experiences bringing to light the unbelievable happenings.
Now, years later, after the divorce of her parents and Ewan’s death, Maggie has inherited the house. She is determined to go back and face which she considers the lies perpetrated in her father’s book, fix up the house, and sell it. However, soon Maggie realizes that perhaps this book was not packed with lies and mistruths. Perhaps it is indeed an evil place populated by malevolent spirits that are intent to seeing her dead.
Told with an eerie aura, this story will have you glued to its pages.
Thank you to Riley Sager, Dutton, and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book due out on June 30th, 2020.
and here’s the author
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’s been published in 25 languages, and the New York Times bestsellers THE LAST TIME I LIED and LOCK EVERY DOOR. His next book, HOME BEFORE DARK, will be published in July.
A native of Pennsylvania, he now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.