There’s No Place Like Home

The temperatures are still hot, and it’s not quite fall yet. Here we are, reviewing a book that should be destined for October.  When the temperatures cool and the nights are just a bit spookier, that’s the perfect time for a haunted house story.

Instead, we’re reading Home Before Dark by Riley Sager now.  Because the story was just too good to wait several more months.

Maggie Holt, current home remodeler and flipper has a dark secret.  She’s the little girl in the popular memoir by Ewan Holt titled House of Horror.  Think The Amityville Horror only more terrifying. 

Twenty- five years ago, when Maggie was a young child, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess Holt moved into Baneberry Hall, a sprawling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods.  Twenty days later, the family fled the home in the dead of night with nothing but the clothing on their back. 

When her father dies, Maggie is shocked to find that she has inherited the manor house which she thought her father sold off.

Estranged from her mother, Maggie decides to move into the house and remodel it, flip it to sell to an investment broker for a hotel or bead and breakfast or even apartments. What follows is a story that not even Maggie, who had never been told what really happened that night, can comprehend.

I expected this to be a basic haunted house story. A skeptic steps into a haunted house with a long history of murders and deaths only to find that the house has secrets and ghosts that don’t want her there.  Instead, while the house does hold secrets and ghosts, they aren’t the type the readers are expecting.  The spooky haunted house story flips to a psychological thriller that has so many twists and turns that the reader is holding on not really understanding what’s happening until that final climatic chapter.  I was enthralled with this story. I couldn’t put it down until I finished the book.  Sager’s fourth novel takes the reader for a ride, one I wasn’t expecting.  I could fully see this as a movie, as Sager’s words paint of picture in the mind of the reader so clear, the movie is playing in their head as they read.

I want to read Sager’s other works just to see if I get sucked into them as easily as I did this. If you’re looking for a good spooky book this fall, friends, you can’t go wrong with this one. Don’t read it alone. Or in the dark. Sleep will be elusive.

With school returning and summer coming to a close, remember to enjoy these last days. Get in last summer trips, last swimming, last visits to warm sunny places. And as always, make sure to relax with a good book.

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