Cover Image: Home Before Dark

Home Before Dark

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Member Reviews

‘Home Before Dark’, has a story that will give you goosebumps while reading and blow you away once you finish it.
Maggie Holt is wrapping her head after her father passed away. She has much work ahead of her. She has just inherited the house changed her life. As a child, her parents left a plethora of questions unanswered and, with every day, she disliked that nobody answered her questions.
Now she has the house she is determined to find the answers. But she encounters things that confuse her more. Growing up, the book tormented Maggie. Maggie Holt became synonymous with the book. Every time she gave her name, the inevitable question, “How was it living in the house?” followed her. Maggie knew her father wrote the book to earn money and fame, and none of the contents is true.
The book has two timelines. One is Maggie’s timeline is present and her move to the mansion in Bartleby. Other, timeline is loosely based on the concept of book-within-a-book. The second timeline is the narration from Ewan Holt’s book, The House of Horrors.
As the book proceeds, the events of the two timelines coincides, which makes it eerie. It creeps into Maggie that her father's book may not be false stories.
Riley Sager’s writing is convincing and spine-chilling. Home before dark edges on the genre of horror brings an added element in this genre which amalgamates with horror and mystery thriller.
Baneberry hall is not just a mansion it has a personality. Inside the house, the reader has an impending sense of fear. The chandelier, the study on the third floor, gives an uncanny feeling to the reader.
The ending is apt and fulfilling and it’s not just for the readers but also Maggie. The foggy and unclear 25 years of Maggie gets a satisfying end.
Riley Sager’s Home before dark is a tale of Baneberry Hall’s intrusion in Holt family. But it’s a story of a woman who relentlessly searches the missing pieces of her life that were hidden away.
My rating 4 stars.

Thank you, NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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I love haunted house stories and I always find them enjoyable even if they tread on familiar grounds. Home Before Dark has all my favourite beats – a decrepit house, dark history, family secret, strange incidents. The writing is quick and easy to digest. Unlike the author’s previous books, I was pleased to see there is no unnecessary instant romance situation. I liked the book-within-book framing, and I thought the fictional memoir is pretty entertaining.

But the familiarity here veers too much from tribute into straight up replication. The storyline is very similar to The Haunting of Hill House – TV show not the book – and The Amityville Horror. It’s understood that in horror the same tropes tend to be employed but I expect some originality at least. Unfortunately, nothing in this book surprised me. I found Maggie as a main character inconsistent; her attitude towards her father’s book varies according to whatever suits her situation. I wish there’s more atmosphere or that the book goes full-tilt scary but it stays middling throughout. I would say this book is horror-lite, so if you’re a horror newbie you might give Home Before Dark a try!
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With Halloween fast approaching I was looking for a creepy, “things that go bump in the night” kind of book, one that would send shivers down my spine, a book that would have me jumping at the slightest noise, and “yes” I found a book which fitted the bill perfectly! Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is a ghost story wrapped in a spine chilling mystery, which centres around an atmospheric, gothic haunted house called Baneberry Hall. I’m a huge fan of Riley Sager’s writing. His books remind me of the 1980s horror movies that I use to watch. The only thing missing is the dramatic, scary music! 

The story is told from the POV of Maggie in the present day, and through a best-selling book called the House Of Horrors written by Maggie’s father Ewan, which tells the story of the family living in haunted Baneberry House, and the events that led up to them fleeing their family home. It was Ewan’s book I found the more intriguing as he paints a picture of a house haunted by malevolent spirits with a history that’s steeped in tragedy. It’s tense, eerie and unsettling, but is it real? Or a work of fiction? Maggie’s convinced it’s the latter. After all wouldn’t she have some memories of living there, however small? Now Maggie is all grown up, and finds out she has been left the house in her father’s will and so begins a haunting journey into her past, a story which is steeped in atmosphere, mystery and ghostly events. 

I have read all the authors’ book and they always remind me of an 1908’s horror movie, Home Before Dark reminded me of The Amityville Horror, with a cinematic narrative it feels like you are watching a movie rather than reading a book. Some readers may consider the plot to be far fetched, but isn’t that the beauty of fiction? That sometimes you have to stretch your own imagination to embrace the read. I wouldn’t consider this book to be terrifying, but it made me jump on one or more occasion, which made for an unsettling read! Riley Sager throws in a few well-placed surprises, that made my jaw drop as I wasn’t expecting them which helped to make this book such an exciting and enjoyable read. Highly recommend.
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Home Before Dark is a thriller with two stories happening at the same time: the story in Ewan's book The House of Horrors and twenty-five years later, with Maggie going back to the house to prepare it for selling. I had a mixed experience with this book, it started off a bit weakly for my taste and ended a bit weakly too, but I found the middle to be really engaging and I had such a great time reading it! It's a very fun, creepy book that keeps you guessing at what in the book was real and what wasn't, who's telling the truth and why did Maggie's parents lie all those years. It is no Lock Every Door - I found Riley Sager's previous thriller to be far superior in terms of mystery, resolution and message.

I really enjoyed the two stories mirroring each other, as Maggie accidentally or purposefully followed her father's steps in her search for the truth. The author did a really great job with that, even if the book is far from perfect. I would have liked a stronger ending, perhaps even an open ending. Considering this is Riley Sager, you know what you're getting into and I think the ending is rather easy to guess, so I hoped for an even bigger twist by making this book a different experience than reading The Final Girls or Lock Every Door was. I decided to rate this highly because of how much fun it was to read! My expectations had been somewhat dampened by the reviews I'd seen so far, so it's possible this also helped with having a nice time reading it. I expected an entertaining ghostly story with lots of murder and was not disappointed.
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think Riley Sager has definitely become one of my favourite authors-all the novels are beautifully creepy, really well plotted keeping them unpredictable and always always keep me up at night.

Home Before Dark might be my favourite yet, a ghost story within a mystery, but is there really something supernatural going on just nefarious human intentions..

As ever the author keeps you on your toes..offering many possibilities and creating a nerve wracking undertone to the story that does make you suddenly open your eyes into the darkness feeling like there might be someone there.

I loved it. Obviously I’m not going to tell you if there are spirits floating through the narrative or not but either way this is a haunting, clever story that put me in mind of Amityville.

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Riley Sager offers his take on the haunted house genre with this page turner of a mystery novel about a woman who returns to her childhood home years after being the focus of an Amityville style event.
A carefully constructed mystery story full of twists and turns, this is one that keeps you engaged until the final pages.
The twin storylines, of both the non-fiction story chapters of the haunting and Maggie Holt's adult investigation into her childhood events, run nicely alongside each other and Riley uses this competing tales to tease out the revelations throughout the story.
The final reveals are a little too convenient and rushed - robbing the story slightly of its impressive build up - but it's otherwise another solid outing from an author making a splash in the horror field.
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This is was a great spooky thriller to read in October. I'm a fan of Riley Sager and although this wasn't a favourite, I still recommend it. The book centres around a spooky, possibly haunted, house - when I started reading this I was staying in a hotel which I had just found out someone had been murdered in a few years previously! That certainly creeped me out and I had to stop reading the book in parts because it was scaring me so much!

Unfortunately the ending spoilt it for me... it was just a little bit silly and unbelievable which ruined the atmosphere for me. Seems like I am in the minority though looking at the other reviews!
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Home Before Dark is yet another strong offering from Riley Sager, this time an homage to famous "True Story" hauntings such as Amityville. It's so easy to just sink into Sager's books, they're the ultimate comfort read for anyone in need of some thrills or horror in their life.

I found the whole story compelling and even though many of the characters weren't fully likeable, they were well-rounded and believable and I think that's more important. 

It's a fast-paced read with dual storylines that are just as strong as each other - usually you'll get one that's not as good a read as the other and always want to go back to that part. That wasn't the case here. 

Overall, this is a great read from an author I've come to trust - I know I'll always have a good time reading his work. Thanks so much for the opportunity to read and review.
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Maggie had always been trying to get her parents to tell her the truth about why they fled Baneberry Hall when she was a kid. Why they left, and never returned but she was never given an answer. Even on his death bed Maggie’s father made her promise to never return. But when her father dies and leaves the house to her in his will Maggie takes this as an opportunity to find out the truth and make some money at the same time. And the truth was more than she bargained for.
I will be honest about why I requested this book, the hype around it. I kept hearing the great reviews but it was not something that overly interested me to read. Well I stand corrected I that it did interest me. So much so that I have sat and read it non stop today. Not only did the storyline make it easier but also the writing style which was so easy to read. 
The story moved at a good pace and each new discovery was at the time so as not to get bored by it. Although there were times when Maggie’s character was a bit annoying in her stubbornness it made sense as the story unfolded.
This has definitely made me want to pick up another book by Riley Sager now.
Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for a copy of this eARC in exchange for an honest review
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Big fan of 'The Final Girls' and so was looking forward to this novel - it's only the second i've read by Riley Sager so I didn't really have any expectations.  This was a good 'ghost' story with some great twists, however, I really wasn't enamored with the main character - her motives were a little off to me and some of the secondary characters were a little quick to support her.  All in all, a fun read with a couple of twists - I look forward to reading another Riley Sager novel again.
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Maggie Holt is a young woman who feels the need to return to the family home of Baneberry Hall, many years after she and her parents fled after a disturbing incident. Now, following her father's death, she needs answers.
What follows is a fabulous, ghostly tale with supernatural elements and it's a great story that kept me interested throughout.
It's got a book within a book as Maggie tells her story in the first person and alongside this are chapters from the best selling book 'House of Horrors, a true story, written by Maggie's father, Ewan Holt.
This juxtaposition works so well as the two experiences eventually come together in a thrilling and satisfying conclusion.

I loved it and it's the perfect, escapist thriller for an Autumnal / Winter night ....or any night!

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the opportunity to preview and congratulations to Riley Sager - a triumph!
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What a creepy ride this was. It was eerie and spine tingling. It actually had me looking over my shoulder apprehensively, switching on an extra lamp in the evening and checking dark shadowy corners; that's how creeped out I was. The alternating chapters, from the past to the present, heightened the tension... and the fear. It had me questioning the truth, what was reality and what was fiction. It was clever and disorientating, fast paced and suspenseful. What I enjoyed most of all was the setting: Baneberry Hall. It had that classic gothic feel to it and the house was like a real entity, poisonous, watchful and haunting. To me it was the main character of the novel, with all its dark, secretive corners and lofty rooms. I definitely wouldn't want to stay in such a place, haunted or not!

Overall, for a person who really dislikes horror films this was a great, suspenseful read. The pages were seeped in fear and tension, and I read on scared yet eager to know the truth of it all. This would make an excellent horror film as it played out like one perfectly. The perfect read for this time of year!
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Somehow this is my first Riley Sager book but I’ve now purchased the rest of his back catalogue! October is the perfect time to read this kind of book, thrilling with elements of horror. I loved the creepy haunted house environment, I enjoyed the dual timelines between Maggie and her Dad’s book. I was also pleasantly surprised by the ending and definitely didn’t see it coming. 4 solid stars - looking forward to reading more. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ecopy in exchange for an honest review.
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Home Before Dark 
by Riley Sager (Goodreads Author)  
Tina Conn's review Oct 06, 2020  ·  edit
really liked it

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

After her father dies, Maggie Holt inherits the house that has cast a shadow over her life. Maggie lived in the house as a child that was supposedly haunted and her father wrote a book about the hauntings that occurred and eventually forced the family to leave the house behind. Her father fabricated the hauntings to sell the book. Maggie intends to prepare the house for sale and move on. Then strange things start happening and Maggie decides to find out what exactly is going on. 

There are elements of a haunted house story but I would really class this as more of a thriller. The story is told from Maggie’s point of view and her cynicism of what actually happened in the house when she was a child. She is dealing with grief and leftover anger at her father for writing the book and not being able to get to the truth. We also get to read some of the book that her dad wrote. The book within a book is something that I always enjoy and this was no exception. The story had me hooked in from the start. After reading all of Riley Sager’s other books I find that he has a formula that he sticks to so although I didn’t guess the ending I knew where this book was heading.
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This was a pretty creepy read! 

Defiantly perfect as the darker nights approach. 

I really enjoy Riley’s work. He always gets me on edge and I can never guess the outcome. 

Perfect for thriller/horror fans.
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When Maggie was five years old she spent twenty days in Baneberry House with her parents before they fled in the middle of the night, never to return again. Twenty five years later, Maggie inherits the estate that her father insists is haunted. With his dying breaths, he warns Maggie that returning to Baneberry is not safe for her, but Maggie has always felt more haunted by the book that her father wrote about their time at the house than by any actual memories. She arrives at Baneberry, intending to spend a few weeks renovating before selling, while also hoping to figure out why her family really left all those years ago because “ghosts don't exist”, right?

This has the feel of a classic haunted house story, but it is so much more than that. The chapter's alternated between Maggie in the present day and her father's book, which really adds to the suspense. It is perfectly paced, and has a very satisfying ending. I really loved it! 

This will definitely be one of my top books of 2020 and I can't wait to check out more of Sager's work. 

Thank you, #NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton  for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This was such a creepy fun book perfect for this time of year!(spooky season) 

It is told in two timelines, Maggies Pov which is current and the other is  told from her father's in the past when he wrote a book known as the House of horrors. In current day after her father passes away Maggie inherits the house she once lived in as a child, one that her father made infamous by a book, it is known to be hunted and for its dark past however Maggie doesn't quite believe her parents and wants to find out the truth. Is there really ghost or is it something else? 

This book was great and had quite a few twist and turns, I did guess some of the things that happened but it did a great job on the final twist and I was generally creeped out whilst reading this.
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I really enjoyed this horror/thriller mix from Riley Sager. I find myself getting a little bored with straight forward horrors so loved how this kept flipping back and forth between genres. It really kept me guessing.

The story is told from the POV of Maggie and from her father in the format of chapters from his book. I enjoyed this switching between the 2 and thought it really added to the atmosphere and tension building. 

An enjoyable spooky read with plenty of twists thrown in at the end. A great book to start off my October reading!
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Riley Sager is an auto-buy author for me. I've loved each of his novels and loved the sound of Home Before Dark. Who doesn't love a haunted house story?

Maggie Holt grew as the daughter of a famous author and subject of a popular book. When she was a child, the family lived in Banebury Hall for a short time before leaving hurriedly one night and never returning after claiming that they experienced paranormal activity. 

Maggie doesn't believe the story; after all, ghosts aren't real. But when her Dad passes away and Banebury Hall is left to her, she can't resist returning to the house that holds her family secrets, even if her Dad told her it wasn't safe for her there.

This was the perfect read for me and I couldn't put it down. I loved that the narrative split between present day Maggie and her Dad's book. The parallels were great and it was interesting to wonder how reliable Maggie's Dad's narrative was with her assumption that the book was a complete lie.

Part ghost story, part thriller, it kept me interested until the end, which was a finale that I didn't see coming.

My huge thanks for the chance to read and review this one!
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This was a really fun spooky read that is perfect for the halloween/autumn season.
I loved the setting as it really made the house feel like it's own character. There were many intense scenes and a fast plot line that really speeds the story along, making this a great binge read.
I did find the ending disappointing which is why I'm rating this three stars but overall, if you are looking for a quick, spooking read to get you in the mood for Autumn, then this is a good choice.
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