Book Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge (a story within a story, 2017) ...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge (a story within a story, 2017)

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A book with the same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated to it, A book published the month of your birthday, A book with at least a four-star rating on Goodreads, A book with a three-word title, A book by or about a journalist

TW: Death, classism, suicide 

I have been pining to get my hands on Home Before Dark since I first heard about it some time last year. I had reached out to request an ARC, with no response, and since I was offered Riley Sager's previous two books via Netgalley, I lurked and lurked and lurked on Netgalley until finally it was added. So I immediately requested it, and was almost instantaneously denied. I was so saddened. But since all of Sager's books have been Book of the Month picks in the past, I was hopeful it would a June release, and it was! Thank goodness. So I obviously snatched it up immediately, then read it almost as fast on the day it arrived.

Maggie Holt believes that every house has a story to tell, and she likes to use that belief in her job remodeling and flipping homes. Her interest in homes likely stems from a house she lived in during her childhood, a house that dictated and shaped her entire life. When she was five, she moved into an infamous home in small-town Bartleby. A house that she in her parents only lived in for 21 days before fleeing forever. After their escape, Maggie's father wrote a memoir about the hauntings that took place in Baneberry Hall, turning their house and their family famous. Twenty-five years later, her father dies leaving her the house in his will. So she returns to the house that shaped her life under the premise of remodeling it to sell. But the truth is, Maggie doesn't remember what happened in that house 25 years ago, but she doesn't believe her father's version of the truth written in his famous memoir. Really, Maggie is returning to figure out what really happened when she was five. She's returning so she can learn the truth.

There's something to be said about a slow burn of a mystery story, but I can say that this is not that type of story. Home Before Dark had me hooked from the very first page. The story was smartly set up and formatted. The chapters interweaved between current-day Maggie's first-person narrative, to the chapters of her father's memoir. As Maggie contemplates her childhood and searches so frantically for the truth of her youth, the reader is simultaneously transported 25 years into the past and immersed into the haunting landscape of Baneberry Hall.

This book was haunting, terrifying, and so well-written. The characters were flawed, yet smart and believable. Seriously, I was so uncomfortable and creeped out while devouring this story. Home Before Dark is a well-developed mixture of The Haunting of Hill House meets The Amityville Horror meets The Sundown Motel. There's something so enthralling about a two parallel timelines with elements and events that intersect and weave together with beautiful prose and scintillating storytelling.

"Every house has a story to tell." - Home Before Dark, Riley Sager

Sager continuously brings killer novel after killer novel. Each of his books get better and better, and each time I completely sink my claws into them. You should read Home Before Dark as soon as possible, but maybe, you know, read before dark because it sure is scary.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★★

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