I've heard the praises of Riley Sager being sung for years and I've finally understood why. I recently reviewed his novels, "Final Girls" & "Lock Every Door" and they're incredible, excellent thrillers. I've had this novel, "Home Before Dark" in my collection for a few months thanks to Book of the Month and finally read it.

It was not what I expected in any way; it was really out there and unlike anything I've ever read before. Sager has a way of doing that... of giving you a traditional story in an unexpected, outrageous way. 

"Home Before Dark" is not a psychological thriller in a traditional way; it's very much a paranormal thriller and I've really never read anything like it before. It was so good and I read it within a few days. 

Publisher's Summary

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father's book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father's death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

My Thoughts

I'm not going to lie, this was a scary book. I scare pretty easily when it comes to the paranormal so that wasn't a surprise. 

At first when the book started, I felt it was a little odd. It was a bit confusing and I wasn't sure of where it was going to go but once you understood the premise it all made sense. One thing to note is that the book goes back and forth between the present day of Maggie Holt's life and switches to the book her father wrote. 

I loved that trope -- it was so unique and really kept you on your toes since the main plot of the book was Maggie trying to figure out if her father's book was true. 

While we're speaking about Maggie... I didn't find her very likable and I didn't really connect to her mission of finding out if her parents were lying to her about the paranormal activity. It was very evident of why she was trying to figure out the truth but I didn't connect to it at all. It felt a little over the top. 

Even though I enjoyed the book, mostly the later half, there were some things I wasn't a fan of, mostly the length of the book. It felt really long and I found that some of the plot were unnecessary to the story but that's just my opinion. I also found it a little confusing to keep track of all the father & daughter pairs that lived in the House before Maggie and her family. It was a little difficult to keep them all straight. 

I wasn't really sure where the book was going; I wasn't sure if Maggie's instincts about the book being untrue were right or if her father was truthful the entire time. It could've went either way but after the first climax of the novel, you realize that there is a much bigger story going on. It was super unexpected and it had my jaw on the floor. 

When you're just getting used to the first revelation, another one is dropped soon after that changes the entire book. It was so good and made so much sense in the grand scheme of things. The ending made the entire book worth it in my opinion. 

As for the writing, it was really exceptional. It lingered after you closed the book, was really well plotted and thought out... it was wonderful. I really liked the paranormal aspect and that's definitely something I learned about myself when reading! I'll definitely try more paranormal books after this one. 

"Home Before Dark" wasn't my favorite Sager novel, I think Final Girls is still number one but I highly recommend it, especially if you're someone who enjoys scary movies! 

What are you reading this week?
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