Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Rate: 5/5

“Every house has a story to tell.”

Maggie Holt is known for her father’s book, House of Horrors. He wrote a supposedly truthful account of a haunting that took place during her childhood. The problem is, she doesn’t remember any of it and her parents won’t talk about it. Spending her whole life trying to get away from the stares and judgments that come from the book, Maggie is tired of not having any answers to her questions. When her dad dies and the house suddenly falls back into her hands, it is time for her to find the answers she has been asking for. As Maggie fixes up the house, some of her memories come back and she starts to wonder if maybe her parents were telling the truth after all.

“Instead of memories, I have excerpts. It’s like looking at a photograph of a photograph. The framing is off. The colors are dulled. The image is slightly dark.”

I think I have an obsession with books based on haunted houses. I just finished Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and was obsessed with it. Following up with Home Before Dark is cementing my belief that these are the books for me. I love reading material that is slightly scary, definitely suspenseful, and full of turns. This book has all that and more. Sager does a wonderful job with Maggie Holt, creating a character that you can quickly relate to and are rooting for the entire time. Maggie is strong, independent, and determined to put the book and everything she suffered because of it behind her. The last five chapters as everything was coming to a close were impossible to put down. The book switches between Maggie’s adventures and actual pages from her father’s book, House of Horrors. It sets a nice pace and you are able to blow through the book.

“Something vaguely sexist and patronizing. I get it all the time. Constant questions that would never be posed to a man. Am I skilled enough? Strong enough? Capable enough?”

I recommend this book to those of you that are fans of horror, haunted houses, thrillers, murder mysteries, and suspense ridden novels. There is something in here for everyone, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find something to tear into in this novel. I have not checked out any of Sager’s other novels, but I think I may have to. I know they wrote Final Girls, which I have not had the privilege of reading but have heard wonderful things about.

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