Autumn is here and I’m loving it already! One of my favourite things about the season is settling down with a great stack of spooky-ish books. It’s the perfect time for thrillers and books that are a little paranormal. And the book I’ll be reviewing today is absolutely perfect for those seasonal vibes. That’s right, today I’m sharing my review of Home Before Dark by Riley Sager. It’s a haunted house thriller and the cover alone is immensely creepy. So yeah, make sure you add this to your autumn TBR if that kind of thing floats your boat.
Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Home Before Dark
by Riley Sager
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date of Publication: 17th September 2020
Format: eBook (402 pages)
Murder, birth trauma, loss of a child, loss of a spouse, loss of a parent, grief, snakes, missing people, references to alcohol, references to the occult
Maggie Holt has just inherited a house from her late father. But not just any house, the infamously creepy house that her parents wrote a bestselling memoir about claiming that it was haunted.
Having grown up under the weight of her parents’ book, she’s determined to find out the truth. How much of the book is fact and how much is fiction? So she moves in with the intention of renovating and selling the property and as the number of truths within the book start piling up, Maggie has to confront the biggest question of all: was she really the victim of a haunting as a child?
I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did. Why? Because I’m a big scaredy cat and the premise led me to believe that Home Before Dark would be scarier than it actually was. I’d even go so far as saying that this is more of a thriller than a horror novel. Even so, it’s a tense ride!
It’s oozing all the good stuff; foreboding, suspicious characters, jaw-dropping plot twists, gothic elements and plenty of suspense. While some of the chapters are sort of long, they never feel like they drag because the pacing and tension is executed flawlessly. It constantly propels you to keep reading. (Even if like me, your anxiety is begging you to stop.)
The style of alternating chapters between Maggie’s perspective and her parent’s book is a format I absolutely love. I read a story with a similar structure earlier on in the year (The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter) and loved that as well. It’s a great way to build tension, feeding you clues as to what might happen next in the “real story”. Again, Sager really utilises this tool to deliver an exceptionally suspenseful book.
If you’re concerned that this book is going to creep you out, don’t be. It’s eerie and tense but not scary.
- Strong + independent female MC
- Confrontation of childhood trauma
- Family drama
- Paranormal elements
- Kinda creepy
Read This If You…
- Want to read something that’s not too scary but has paranormal elements
- Love thrillers with a twist
- Are looking for the perfect autumnal read
So there you have it, my review of Home Before Dark by Riley Sager. Again, I absolutely loved it and I do recommend it to anyone who likes their reading to be quite dark, paranormal or even gothic. It’s available now from all good book retailers so don’t miss out!
What are your spooky-ish book recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.