Home Before Dark was my first book by the much deserved hyped author – Riley Sager. I am now excited to read all of his books. 2020 has particularly been a year to explore new to me authors and it has indeed been so refreshing to discover such gems. Although, the main reason I did pick this up was because it is the book of the month for the LiterallyDeadBookClub I have recently joined on Goodreads. Yes, I am finally getting myself to join book clubs,turns out I have been missing out on a lots of fun.
Home Before Dark is a highly engaging atmospheric ghost story thriller. The story is set in two timelines – The past where Maggie and her parents move into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian Estate deciding to ignore all the ghost stories that came with it. Things get alot creepy and they leave the house. He writes a book about living in the House of Horrors and Maggie’s life is forever defined by that book aka the reason she despises them. Switch to the present, she inherits the property and decides to renovate it and put it up for sale. But before that, find the truth about these ghostly encounters.
BOOK IN A BOOK
I am usually not a fan of dual timelines or the typical book inside a book trope.I tend to feel detached from the original story and can’t wait to get done with the time lines i am least enjoying. Mostly the one’s that are set in the past. But this one does it so well. I was so invested in both the timelines. We get to read some of the chapters her Dad wrote in the book that talk about his experiences living in the House of Horrors and the other timeline is about Maggie figuring out the truth about the house in present time.
In both the timelines, we have an unreliable narrator which made it very thrilling to read and kept me curious until the last page. We also have logical and reasonable individuals that don’t believe that anything like ghosts might actually exist and always look for a logical reason behind these unusual encounters.
I am easily scared, and rarely pick up a horror book. It really creeps me out for days after I finish reading it. However, I love the Haunted House trope the most in the horror genre as I like to torture myself like that. This one though felt similar to The Haunting of Hill House but was much better in its execution.
“Every house has a story. Ours is a ghost story. It’s also a lie. And now that yet another person has died within these walls, it’s finally time to tell the truth.”
This book was extremely atmospheric and the scene with the Chandelier and the Bones literally left me creep out. And OMG the snakes, I will never be able to look at a ceiling the same way again. There is also a grave yard and snakes. Did I mention snakes?
The setting steals the show and the plot twists are well executed that even a seasoned thriller reader will enjoy it. And yet, I loved the characters too which is very rare for me in the thriller genre. There were a few instances when Maggie and her father had these sarcastic monologues that made me laugh out loud. Usually thrillers have some disturbing family dynamics that is the cause of most things falling apart. But her dad’s chapters made him seem so loving that most thrillers don’t have. Yes, she is upset with her parents lying but once everything falls in place. Every character arc made sense and there were no outright stupid moments.
RATING : 4.0 / 5.0
Overall, Home Before Dark was a thrilling reading experience and it has all the ingredients that will give you the creeps. It has a Victorian House, A Graveyard, Snakes and of course those basic spooky aesthetics .
Published on: June 30th 2020
Pages : 409
Genre: Thriller, Horror
Publisher: Dutton Books