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Publisher's Summary

The Instant New York Times Best Seller

One of USA Today's Best Books of 2020

“A haunted house story - with a twist.... [Sager] does not hold back” (Rolling Stone) in this chilling thriller from the author of Final Girls and Survive the Night.

Every house has a story to tell and a secret to share. 

Twenty-five years ago, Maggie Holt and her parents moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. Three weeks later they fled in the dead of night, an ordeal her father recounted in a memoir called House of Horrors. His story of supernatural happenings and malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity - and skepticism.

Maggie was too young to remember any of the horrific events that supposedly took place, and as an adult she doesn’t believe a word of her father’s claims. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When she inherits Baneberry Hall after his death and returns to renovate the place and sell it, her homecoming is anything but warm. The locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous, and human characters with starring roles in House of Horrors are waiting in the shadows. 

Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself - a place where unsettling whispers of the past lurk around every corner. And as Maggie starts to experience strange occurrences ripped from the pages of her father’s book, the truth she uncovers about the house’s dark history will challenge everything she believes. 

©2020 Riley Sager (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"What could be better than a haunted house with ghosts aplenty? Home Before Dark is equally superb and terrifying. Buckle up for a wild ride. This book should come with a warning not to be read after dark." (Mary Kubica, New York Times best-selling author of The Other Mrs.)  

"Flawless pacing, a dexterous dual narrative, and character through the roof. But the biggest revelation to be found in Home Before Dark is this: There's nobody writing scarier books than Riley Sager is right now." (Josh Malerman, New York Times best-selling author of Bird Box and Malorie)  

"Houses breathe. Some have a heartbeat. None forget. Grabbing you from the first page, Riley Sager crafts a devilish plot, twisted timelines, and horrors that linger in this haunting thriller that needs to be on your reading list!" (J.D. Barker, international best-selling author of She Has a Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be

What listeners say about Home Before Dark

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Meh...Not My Favorite Sager Book

Sager is an automatic order for me, usually. Alas, this one was not my cup of tea.

I won't rewrite the same book bio. You can read it on the same page as the book or on Goodreads. There are suggested hints of Haunting of Hill House, The Amityville Horror, or The Shining when you first start reading the book. As the reader goes along, you realize this is LESS of a paranormal thriller and more of a psychological one. It is simply a mystery about an old house and the girl who used to live there finally figuring out why her family fled one night so long ago. As Sager novels go, this ended up as my least favorite.

The book is well-written and performed well, but I have a few issues with the story overall. I don't mind the story being told from two points of view (Maggie's now, her father, then). Cady and Jon narrate these respective characters well. However, Maggie is not the most likable character and there are a few inconsistent plot points I had issues with. The book is much longer than necessary, even for a slow-burn mystery.

Sadly, you can listen to the first two, two-in-a-half hours and jump to chapter 25 and listen from there and learn everything you need to know. The book is padded with a lot of misleading red herrings and dead ends in between. It was a very very slow burn and reveal. Not as clean of a mystery as I would have hoped, especially since it was marketed as a paranormal one. This is not a horror either. The big reveal twist and the ending, for me, went a little flat.

As a Sager fan, I can appreciate what he was trying to do. It just wasn't my thing.

24 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Save your credit!

I had a few issues with this book:

1) giant snooze. I fell asleep and woke up a few hours later; didn’t miss a beat
2) skipping! This book skipped all over the place!!
3) recycling of “suspense”
4) unlikeable characters

Save your credit! If you bought it skip to chapter 25 as recommended in another review!

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I didn't see it coming!

This is a great story. I didn't want to stop listening. I finished it in 2 days!! The story flows easily and there are so many twists and turns you just don't know what to believe. I don't scare easily so this book did not scare me, however, I can see how someone more sensitive would/could get scared. The story was so well told I felt like I was watching a movie. This book will not disappoint!

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Meh

It was a little predictable and unoriginal. I wasn’t a fan of the female narrator.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Sager's books get worse with each new one

Bland, uninspired, boring, and derivative of far better works, "Home Before Dark" continues Sager's descent from a promising genre writer with his debut to hack with this latest mess. Avoid.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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shocking

I loved everything about this book. It's a fun and spooky book with a fantastic ending.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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captivating

I've read other books by this author. he creates unusual plots which are engrossing and highly entertaining

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not Sager's Best

Home Before Dark is unsatisfying as a mystery and tepid as a haunted house story. Disappointing.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Barely passable

I finished listening to this, but honestly, I'm glad I've learned not to bother again with this author. Everything about his writing is borderline (or blatantly) misogynistic, and the prose is very sloppy. The "facts" never align with the story (if Maggie has her father's book memorized, why does she not anticipate the chandelier that won't turn off or the record player that plays itself?). Nightmares are not the same as night terrors. Small-town police in the 1980s didn't shrug off a 16 yr old runaway as "oh, well", especially when a mysterious family suddenly packs up and flees town that night, then become *superstars* by writing a #1 bestselling book about a haunted house there. Also, assuming your child is a dangerous psychopath and covering up her crime is *not* good parenting. I mean, I've read worse. Just can't think of any. Both narrators: lifelong Vermonters do NOT sound Brooklynese.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Not what I expected !

The book was great! I was surprised the turn that it took! I have already recommended the book to someone!

4 people found this helpful