Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
Maggie Holt doesn’t want to go home again. In fact, she desperately wants to avoid revisiting the rambling house that she and her parents fled years ago. But, at the reading of her dad’s will, Maggie learns that not only did Ewan never sell that mansion, but now it’s hers.
A house-flipping designer by trade, Maggie is determined to get in and out of the house as quickly as possible with as much profit as she can. You see, the house is a Hell House, full of mystery and vengeful spirits, if you believe the book that Ewan wrote shortly after the family escaped a near death experience. Maggie doesn’t believe her father’s stories and resents him for profiting off of the their family’s pain, so she’s more concerned about the memories being in the house will bring rather than the spirits that may still be present.
I really enjoyed this book, my first from author Riley Sager. I can’t share too much without spoiling the plot, but I can tell you that reading this book at night definitely left me feeling spooked. I rarely read horror or scary books, so this was way outside my comfort zone. I’m glad I was pleasantly surprised and have since purchased two more Sager books for my to-be-read shelves.
What I liked About Home Before Dark
- The writing: Sager can tell a story! This is a very atmospheric novel, and I could feel the setting around me. The pace was fast but not too fast, and the story kept me turning pages.
- The format: Home Before Dark is a book-within-a-book. Maggie is the protagonist and present-day narrator, but we get Ewan’s point of view with alternating chapters taken from his novel about the Holt family’s experience. This format was a great narrative device to move the story forward.
- The characters: I love an unreliable narrator, and Home Before Dark gave me two! Maggie is resentful and her blocked memories made me question her truth. Separately, we learn early on that Ewan Holt made millions off his book about the house, and that poses an ethical question of what the real story is. I didn’t know who was telling the truth, and that kept me engaged.
In short, Home Before Dark was a great read. It’s spooky and fast-paced, and I look forward to reading my next Sager book.