Well, it should come as no surprise that Riley Sager did it again! Home Before Dark has been one of my most highly anticipated books so far this year and it lived up to all of my expectations! This story was incredibly spooky with several surprise twists that I wasn’t expecting and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the emotional roller coaster that this story took me on.
25 years ago, Maggie Holt and her parents, Jess and Ewan, moved into Baneberry Hall and only lasted 20 days before fleeing in the dead of night and leaving behind all of their personal belongings. Ewan ended up writing a story called House of Horrors about their horrific experience in that house, consisting of tales about encounters with ghosts and evil spirits that rivaled with The Amityville Horror in both skepticism and popularity. This book has haunted Maggie all of her life, making her an outcast among peers. The worst part? She doesn’t remember any of her time at Baneberry Hall, convinced that nothing in the book actually happened and that her parents have been lying to her all of her life.
Now, at 26 years old, Maggie discovers shortly after her fathers passing that her family never sold Baneberry Hall and that she has now inherited this house. Since Maggie has her own home restoration business with her best friend, she plans on renovating the home and putting it up for sale. In addition, Maggie ultimately decides to use this project as an opportunity for her to finally figure out what really happened in this house and what made them suddenly flee and never return. Despite her disbelief that the house is haunted, it doesn’t take long for Maggie to begin experiencing weird, unexplainable events in the house- events so strange, that she begins to wonder if the tales that her father wrote about in House of Horrors are actually true… and if the real secrets that are hidden within the house are much more terrifying than anything her dad wrote about in his book.
Riley Sager is an incredible storyteller. I absolutely love the way he writes and how he draws the reader in so quickly with his stories, keeping them on the edge of their seat the entire time. I flew through this book because I NEEDED to know what happened next. One of my favorite things about this book was how the chapters rotated between Maggie’s present day experience, and chapters from House of Horrors.
I also really enjoyed the spookiness to this story. I am such a baby when it comes to scary/haunted things and I do NOT like horror movies. I was traumatized with The Amityville Horror in 6th grade and still make an effort to distance myself from things that have to do with haunted houses and evil spirits to this day (including haunted houses/hay rides around Halloween 😂). However, while this book definitely came me there spooks and despite there being several comparable events in this book that resemble events from The Amityville Horror, I was actually able to fully appreciate and enjoy everything taking place in the book and manage to sleep at night just fine 😂
So happy that my favorite bookish girl gang decided to do this as a buddy read this month! 🤗 If you’re looking for a really spooky thriller with a lot of surprises twists and a wonderful surprise ending, I highly recommend picking up Home Before Dark. I was sold on Riley Sager being an auto-buy author for me after reading Lock Every Door last fall, and after finishing Home Before Dark, I REALLY need to finally check out his other two books.
BEER RECOMMENDATION: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is best paired with Roast Coffee Cider by Bold Rock Cider. Partnered with Pisgah Coffee, this delicious cold brewed hard cider is infused with a medium roast coffee, resulting in a rich coffee aroma and wonderfully balanced flavors 🍻