Cover Image: Home Before Dark

Home Before Dark

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Member Reviews

This book was very disappointing after reading and loving Riley Sager's Lock Every Door. 
It was a pain to read, the main character was insufferable and SO self-righteous, I literally wanted to tear my hair out when reading her thoughts! I love the haunted house vibe and I thought that part of the book was pretty well done. I also enjoyed the 'interludes' from the dad's book, I liked those much more than reading from the main characters perspective.
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This was an interesting novel. Not least because I’d read and enjoyed some of the author’s work in the past (particularly his debut, ‘Final Girls’), but because I’d already seen a lot of good things from other reviewers. Riley Sager clearly has a love for the horror genre, so when I heard he was writing a haunted house tale, inspired by ‘The Amityville Horror’, I was keen to see his take on the theme.

Our primary narrator is Maggie, whose author father has recently died as the story opens. He wrote what she refers to as ‘The Book’ – and we soon begin to see excerpts from it, and to see why she is both affected and haunted by that overarching work.

Because Maggie is a grown-up version of the little girl from The Book itself, a ‘based on true events’ story of a family escaping from a lethal haunted house. She’s travelled through life with what became a best-seller hanging over her; it’s hard to meet anyone who doesn’t know her own story better than she does.

When she learns that she’s inherited that very house, she resolves to put her past demons to rest – and we’re off and running.

This was an enthralling read. We see Maggie exploring the house as an adult, seeing its effect – and that of The Book – on the nearby town, as well as the constant thread of basically trying to figure out if her father was telling the truth or not. Is the house haunted? What about the multiple deaths there over the years, the mysterious staff members and their daughters, and the previous living residents of the house itself?

Maggie’s explorations in the present day are interspersed with chapters from The Book, letting us ‘see’ what actually happened. Except her father may be an unreliable narrator. Or is that Maggie’s memory playing tricks?

Before I knew it, I had sped through the majority of the book (this one, not The Book) and was entering the end zone. Which is sadly where it lost me.

I felt very let down by ‘Home Before Dark’. The twisting plot-threads were excellent, but the multiple fake-outs were not. Everything is tied in a neat bow as the story closes, but that actually felt disappointing after so many mysteries; almost as if I’d have preferred the final door remained closed.

I’m actually reminded of the debate over ‘The Blair Witch Project’ original movie. Would you rather see the monster, or leave that to your own imagination?

Ultimately, for me, trying to figure the puzzle out was far more fun than what happened when the Scooby Doo villain’s mask was pulled off. I know some people will be happy with that, but after a kind of supernatural whodunnit, it was frustrating to be told that the reader had been mislead (in a manner of speaking) as much as the characters.

I doubt I’ll be rereading The Book again soon. But I bet it’ll make a great movie.
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"You are sixteen, going on seventeen-" 🎶🎵🎶
I was singing this line in a childlike Chuckie voice to my staff the whole day! Needless to say, they were freaked out like hell and I had a lot of fun! Never will this be just another innocent song to me. 

I absolutely loved this book and I'm so glad I've discovered this author. I will try to get my grubby paws on all his other books. 

This is an old fashioned ghost story......or is it? Nothing is as straight forward as you think. You have all the elements of a great ghost story. An old creepy house, chandeliers that unexplainably go on by itself, a graveyard and young girls who all died in the presence of their dads. 

"Every house has a story to tell and a secret to share......." 

I loved every creepy moment of this atmospheric mystery thriller and it's up there with the best I've read this year. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I recently watched The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, and found that it didn't scare me and although based on the book of the same name, it didn't have too much in common with the original story. Reading this book by Sager, I was reminded of the TV show in that we have a dual narrative time line, a spooky house abandoned way back when, and a haunted family trying to make sense of a past that continues to torment them - and it also wasn't all that scary!

I enjoyed reading this one, however I wasn't as scared as I'd have liked to have been. It has an Amityville horror vibe to it and as mentioned above, it also mirrors quite closely a few other horror stories. I think the author could have added a bit more originality to his piece, and rely less on previous works to get the plot thickened out. 

Saying that, I was entertained whilst reading this and read it quite quickly, choosing not to put it down, rather to continue on in case of a plot twist or jump scare. There were some really great moments in there that I don't want to mention because of spoilers. 

A good book overall, one that I will recommend to soft horror lovers and fiction fans.
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This is a great psychological thriller about a woman returning to house that she left suddenly in her childhood and the story around this but with many twists.
The loss of her father leads Maggie to return to the house and explore what has gone before to determine that this has all been a lie.
What follows is a journey like no other and the fear and trepidation are palpable throughout.
A real page turner and wait until you think you haver cracked it because you havent.
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Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. 

This was my second Riley Sager book, my first being Lock Every Door. This was phenomenal, it ticked all the boxes in terms of the horror/thriller elements, it was gripping, the characters were so vivid, the plot built with just the right amount of action and intensity. I could not stop reading. 

This was a really dark story, and there were definitely moments where I felt terrified, and one scene did have me feeling particularly scared. The action built up and up at the right times, and the characters were so well created you felt like you were there and almost like it was a movie. 

I liked how we got the story from Maggie's perspective 25 years after her family had fled Baneberry Hall and I also liked how we got to read the story her father wrote. 

Overall, a gripping, twisting and dark horror and 5*!
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Die Erzählung beginnt mit dem ersten Kapitel eines Buches. Ich liebe solche Buch im Buch Geschichten! Eine Woche nach dem Einzug von Ewan und Jess in das neue Haus wird ihnen klar, dass ihre fünfjährig Tochter Maggie glaubt, dass Geister im Haus leben. Einer davon hat ihr sogar gesagt, dass sie alle dort Sterben werden. Ewan versucht zunächst sie zu überzeugen, dass es gar keine Geister gibt. 
Dann wechselt die Geschichte in die Gegenwart. Maggie ist durch das Buch ihres Vaters berühmt geworden. Was Fluch und Segen zugleich ist. Immer wieder wird sie von Fremden angesprochen, wie es denn wirklich war. Sie hat schon einen Standard Antwort dazu parat. Ihr nun kürzlich verstorbener Vater hat ihr das Haus Baneberry Hill in Vermont vermacht. Sie ist völlig überrascht, dass er das Haus nie verkauft hat. Sie selbst hält die ganze Geschichte für eine Lüge und kann sich angeblich nicht wirklich an etwas von den Geschehnissen vor 25 Jahren erinnern. 
Drei Wochen nach dem Einzug ist die kleine Familie laut Buch mitten in der Nacht geflüchtet. Sie schworen damals nie mehr zurück zu kehren. Die Geschichte wurde über einen Polizeimeldung weit bekannt und ein Verleger machte ihrem Vater das Angebot, ein Buch zu veröffentlichen. Es wurde spontan zum Bestseller und weltbekannt. Danach wurde die Familie in viele Fernsehsendungen eingeladen. Ihre Eltern haben ihr nie gesagt, warum sie geflüchtet sind und sie selbst glaubt nicht an Geister. Maggies Ruf eilt ihr voraus und beeinflusst ihr Leben so immer noch. 
In abwechselnden Kapiteln geht Ewans Bericht bzw. Roman weiter. Die ersten Zeichen, dass etwas nicht stimmt, sind typischerweise kalter Luftzug, bewegte Gegenstände und Licht, das von selbst an geht. 
Maggie zieht tatsächlich, trotz Warnungen selbst in Baneberry Hill ein. Auch bei ihr beginnt es mit seltsamen Kleinigkeiten, wie verschwundenen Dingen und offenen Türen die dann zu sind. Wider Erwarten taucht doch eine erste echte Erinnerung auf.
Zur Mitte des Buches nehmen die Ereignisse und der Grusel Fahrt auf. Beide Erzählstränge streben einem Höhepunkt entgegen, von dem man noch nicht ahnt, wie es schlussendlich ausgehen mag. Gegenwart und Vergangenheit fließen immer stärker ineinander. Paranormales und Realität werden immer schwerer zu trennen.
Den letzten Teil liest man in einem Rutsch so gefesselt ist man, man taucht tief in die Atmosphäre und Handlung der letzten Seiten ein. Es kann einem fast schwindlig werden bei den überraschenden Wendungen.
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I'm always mildly terrified whenever I start a new Sager book because reviews and opinions are so polarizing on any of his books that I never quite know where I will land. 
Fortunately, this time around I was on the praising side of things.
Sager really created an incredibly atmospheric story this time around and it held me captive from the very first page. I definitely had chills while reading and though I saw nothing coming since I'm the worst at guessing plot twists, I still could understand how the trajectory of the story led to the ending. 
What I will say is that the ending didn't satisfy me completely but it definitely was a choice. 
Honestly, I'd recommend to everyone just going in blindly because that's how I get most of my enjoyment from Sager's books when I am just completely surprised.
Recommending this for anyone who is in need of some ghostly, spooky vibes and wants a bit of a mystery to keep themselves guessing!
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Wow, what can I say? Riley Sagar has managed to create a thrilling, atmospheric read in Home Before Dark, that had me completely captivated from the start. 
Rarely does a book grab me with both hands and actually make me feel palpable fear through the pages like this one. I highly recommend to fans of thrillers with a sprinkle of mystery and a whole lot of chills.
Big thanks to the publisher and netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book on exchange for an honest review.
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Baneberry Hall is not your typical haunted house... 

When Maggie was five, her family moved to a beautiful three-story home, surrounded by forest and perched atop a hill. Despite knowing that the previous owner killed his daughter and then himself, Maggie's parents were swayed by the home's charm (but, more importantly, the price). Lasting just 20 days, Maggie's father, Ewan, writes a book detailing their time in the house and the chilling horrors they faced. Little did he know that the book would be a best seller. Remembering nothing and believing the book to be a hoax, Maggie returns to the house after her father's death to uncover its history. Shocked at what she finds, she finally starts to wonder if her father was telling the truth after all. 

If I can describe one feeling that Home Before Dark gave me, it would be chills. I absolutely love books about haunted houses; although it's probably the most popular/done-to-death horror theme, there are always so many different directions the story can go and I'm rarely disappointed. In terms of bringing a haunted house to life, Riley Sager more than delivered. 

I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The contrasting chapters flicking between present-day and the excerpts of Ewan's House of Horrors kept me on my toes, eager to uncover the next part of each story. Both had so much depth and multi-layers that were gradually stripped away. As much as I loved the majority of the book, I was disappointed with the ending and felt that it was too dramatic/unbelievable. Still, I was fully invested in the plot and considered a bunch of different theories which is always a pleasure with a novel in this genre. The horror elements evoked all the right feelings and for that, the book scored an easy four stars.
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Home before dark is now the fourth title I've Read by Riley Sager. One of the things that immediately stands out to me upon finishing this novel is how different all of her works are individually. They all stand on their own and she is certainly not shoehorned into writing repetitive stories. While they all have been in the vein of thriller/suspense/mystery Sager has such a huge scope within those genres. 

If you're looking for a spooky chilling read, I definitely don't think this one will disappoint you!  If you are a fan of haunted house stories and tropes within books or movies, This will be up your street for sure. 

As well as having a mystery of whether or not there is something supernatural going on in this house we also have the mystery of deaths and murders that have taken place over the years with both Maggie, and previously, her father, trying to unravel the threads to these secrets. 

I have to admit with each plot twist that came I kept going back and forth on whether this book was a supernatural story or reality masquerading as something unnatural. It was great to be kept so on edge throughout the reading experience. There were definitely some goose bumps going on. 

I enjoyed the dual timeline perspective, as well. Maggie's father's POV gives the reader the background and insight into the alleged events that took place when the family lived in the house, which then Maggie's POV further builds on. So you're given a comprehensive backstory without it being boring or dense as each of Maggie's father's chapters leaves off on its own little cliff hanger. 
While there were quite a lot of characters in this story I never felt confused as to who was who, I think it was set out very cleanly and characters were distinct enough. 

The atmosphere in this book was just something else. Old houses can definitely have a personality or presence to them regardless if rumour says that its haunted. But here, Sager really creates an unsettling and hair raising tension from the first pages. 
Would definitely recommend to fans of The Conjuring/Paranormal Activity and the books by Darcy Coates.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for gifting me with an eARC of this book.

I went into this a little bit apprehensively as I don't generally read horror, and especially not ghost stories. However, I was sucked in by the hype. And boy was it worth it! 

I really enjoyed this book. It's worth noting this is my first Riley Sager book. And it did not disappoint. Were following two different characters in two different timelines. So we have excerpts from Ewan Holt's book 'House of Horrors' and then we have chapters from our main character who is Maggie, Ewan's daughter, 25 years after the "events" in her dads book. 

I really enjoyed the back and forth between Ewan's book (within the book) and Maggie's chapters and seeing the story unfold on both sides. The story was very atmospheric. I'm a wuss and had to put the book down on two occasions because it was night time and I was scared HA! And I only saw part of the ending coming, but not all of it. 

I do feel like this is more psychological thriller-esk than horror. But I really enjoyed it either way. I'll definitely be checking out more of their books.
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Home Before Dark is the latest release from one of my go to authors, Riley Sager. When I want a book to hook me from the first page and keep my attention to the very last one, I know I am in safe hands with Sager. This book is a spine tingling, chilling thrill ride. 
Maggie Holt has returned to Baneberry Hall, twenty five years after she and her parents fled in terror. It is a place she never expected to see again, but following the death of her father, she is shocked to find that he still owned the property, and now he has left it to her.  She has mostly blocked out her memories of the three weeks her family spent in the house, the only version of the story she knows is that told by her father in his best selling book, House of Horrors, where he claims that the house is filled with malevolent spirits , spirits that Maggie could see and speak to, spirits who warned her that she was going to die.  Between his own family's experiences and the tragic history that surrounded previous owners of the property, Maggie's Dad may have been able to weave a best selling tale but in the process he alienated many of the local people who are less than pleased to see Maggie arrive with plans to fix up the property and put it on the market. It's not just the locals who do not approve of her plan, before he died, her father begged Maggie to promise never to return , and later her mother offered to take the property off her hands. Could the haunting have been real? Is Maggie's life really in danger if she returns to Baneberry Hall? What is the real secret the house is hiding? 
All of these questions are answered in this page turner of a book, the twists keep coming to the very end. The author makes good use of a dual timeline to gradually reveal more of the house's secrets , as well as Maggie's current day story we get to read excerpts from her father's book, which sometimes leads to more questions than answers. 
I read a review copy courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
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Baneberry Hall.  A house with a dubious past, rumours of ghosts and stories of murder.  Maggie and her family move in when Maggie is just five years old.  Just 20 days later, the family flee during the night with just the clothes on their back, vowing never to return.  When Maggie's father writes a best selling book based on the family's experiences during their 20 days in the house, Maggie's life becomes defined by both the book and the house.  With absolutely no recollection of any of the events in the book Maggie dismisses the book as a work of fiction and a money making scheme on the part of her father. 

On his deathbed, Maggie's father pleads with her never to return to Baneberry Hall, insisting it isn't safe for her to do so.  Bequeathed the house that her parents never sold, she goes against both parent's wishes and returns to the property with the intention of finding out the truth.

In the middle of a reading slump, I decided to abandon all books and read Home Before Dark.  Having read all of Riley Sager's previous books, I knew I was in for a good read.  Going into the book blind, imagine my glee to realise it is part ghost story/part thriller!!

With early vibes of The Amityville Horror, Paul Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts and the wonderful House on Cold Hill by Peter James, I was absolutely hooked line and sinker from the first page. 

Excellently plotted, this book is eerie, suspenseful and, particularly in the latter chapters as we hurtled towards the exciting climactic reveal, is full of so many OMG moments that I was practically clutching my pearls!!  With great characters and superb pacing, this is a tense and utterly gripping read that I found totally unputdownable.  So far, my favourite Riley Sager book.  Loved it!
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I've loved the previous Riley Sager novels, so when I saw his new novel, "Home Before Dark" was available for request on NetGalley, I requested it immediately. 

"Home Before Dark" is the story of Maggie Holt, infamous due to her late father's book about their time spent living in a haunted house. Maggie, just five at the time, remembers nothing of it, and doesn't believe in ghosts, but - along with everyone else in the western world, it seems - has read her father's book about their supposed experiences, largely centred on Maggie's own relationship with the ghosts in the house. 

After her father's death, Maggie is shocked to find that Baneberry Hall remained in her father's possession after they left in the dead of night and never went back, and the house now belongs to her, along with the rest of his estate. Despite promising him that she would never go back there, the ever practical Maggie decides to spend the summer renovating the property to prepare it for sale. But when strange things start happening the minute she moves back in, Maggie soon starts to question - just how much of her Dad's story was based on the truth?

I love, love, LOVED this book, let me just get that out of the way! I loved how the story is told alternately by Maggie in the present and by using chapters of her Dad's book to present the story of the past. Like CJ Cooke's "The Nesting", which I read earlier this year, the story is deliciously creepy, and deftly manipulates both reader and protagonist, so we are never really sure if the events are supernatural or if there might be a rational explanation, and it was fabulous to watch realist Maggie become slowly more and more unnerved and unsure. It was almost like reading a book within a book - a ghost story within a thriller - and I loved how the plot developed. The ghosts were SO creepy (not ashamed to say I left my bedside lamp on last night!) and I liked how each of the characters, even the supporting ones, were fully fleshed out with their own pasts and problems. 

I won't say too much more because I don't want to give anything away, but if you're a fan of the eerie, the unnerving and a good gothic novel, I can't recommend this highly enough. While ostensibly it's a ghost story, it's not just a ghost story - "Home Before Dark" is about truth, family, and the secrets that haunt us. Which might just ne scarier than the ghosts themselves...

An easy five stars for me, and I will definitely be buying this in paperback for my permanent shelves, too. 

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher, who provided me with a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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It's the first book I read by this author and won't surely be the last as it was gripping and highly entertaining.
I was enthralled by the creepy atmosphere, the growing tension and the great plot.
The characters are well written and the solid plot kept me hooked.
The author is a talented storyteller and I can't wait to read another book.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Wow! This really did have everything: haunted house, very creepy ghosts, a murder mystery and a very exciting denouement. So many twists and turns, impossible to work out the “fact” from the “fiction”. The book within a book format worked very well. Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.
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One night, 25 years ago, 5 year old Maggie and her parents fled Baneberry Hall in fear of their lives.  The Book her father wrote about the events leading up to them abandoning their home with only the clothes on their back became and instant bestseller.  The Book's infamy has haunted Maggie all her life, even more than the actual events detailed in the Book, none of which Maggie can actually remember ever happening.  Now her father is dead a grown up Maggie returns to the house to  try to find out the truth.  Is Baneberry Hall the terrifying haunted house her parents made it out to be or was it all an elaborate hoax?

This is another wonderfully atmospheric, twisty mystery from Riley Sager whose books never fail to entertain.  A fantastic, chilling read.
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I am a huge fan of the thriller books of Riley Sager, he is one of my go to auto buy authors. I’ve spoken a lot about his latest book Home Before Dark and I am pleased to say that it lived up to all my spooky expectations. 

His last book #LockEveryDoor had creepy #RosemarysBaby gothic vibes and Home Before Dark is Sager’s foray into the haunted house genre. If you think along the lines of #theamityvillehorror and classic haunted house stories then you are in the right ballpark.It’s a thrilling, rollercoaster of a book. It is has genuine spooky scares and plenty of twists and turns that will keep you on your toes and guessing up to the final pages. 

An absolute belter of a thriller. Perfect for dark Autumn nights ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of five
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Home Before Dark was my first ever Riley Sager read and I'll tell you right now that it definitely won't be the last. His books have been incredibly hyped up in the reading community and so I was a little apprehensive of reading this book in case it didn't live up to the hype or I just didn't like it and then felt like I was the odd one out. I'm sure most of you can understand that pressure ha ha... 
Home Before Dark is told on a dual time line following the story of Maggie Holt. Her story as a child is told through extracts from her Father's book about their families time living in the House of Horrors and her story as an adult is told as it happens as she moves back into the 'haunted house' and tries to discover what really happened there. Adult Maggie doesn't believe that anything in her Father's book happened and she is fed up of having the story attached to her and so returns to Banebury Hall as a complete sceptic. That is, until creepy things start to happen and her life is once again put in danger by supernatural forces.
Let me tell you, haunted houses don't scare me. At all. But I thought I'd give this one a try purely based on the author and hype. And I went in to this book adamant that it wouldn't scare me. But then I found myself running upstairs in the dark back to the safety of the lit bedroom when I took a break from late night reading to grab a drink! This book is full of atmosphere and tension and it just gets in your mind. I couldn't help myself. In fact, you could say I was a bit like Maggie, a total sceptic, until I wasn't!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to get my grubby little mitts on another Sager story.
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