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Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Home Before Dark

4peat author

This is Riley Sager's 4th book with BOTM — an impressive feat!

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by Riley Sager

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Quick take

A woman inherits her creepy childhood home to find it's haunted by more than memories. Cue the Ouija board game chills.

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What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Home Before Dark.
Home Before Dark

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

The dining room wallpaper might hide pencil marks charting the growth of children who lived there decades before. Under that sun-faded linoleum could be wood once trod by soldiers from the Revolutionary War. Houses are always changing. Coats of paint. Rows of laminate. Rolls of carpet. They cover up a home’s stories and secrets, rendering them silent until someone comes along to reveal them.

That’s what I do.

My name is Maggie Holt. I’m a designer and, in many ways, a historian. I look for each house’s story and attempt to coax it out. I’m proud of the work I do. I’m good at it.

I listen.

I learn.

I use that knowledge to design an interior that, while fully modern, always speaks to the home’s past.

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.

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Why I love it

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

So begins Riley Sager's clever, twisty, and altogether spine-chilling Home Before Dark, the story of a family, a childhood, but most of all, the story of a house—and a brilliantly spooky one at that.

When interior designer Maggie Holt inherits her childhood home, the ominously named Baneberry Hall, her feelings are mixed. She has a complicated relationship with the house her parents fled decades ago, a house her father claimed was haunted in a best-selling book that inadvertently turned Maggie into a minor celebrity. For her part, Maggie has never believed her father's account, and her uncertainty over the truth has poisoned their relationship. Inheriting Baneberry Hall threatens to revive the notoriety she has long sought to escape—but it also gives her the chance to find out the truth about what really happened there all those years ago.

What follows is a deliciously terrifying story. As the narrative flicks back and forth from Maggie's father's account to Maggie's own present day investigation, we gradually learn the truth about what went on at Baneberry Hall, taking in some very satisfying twists and turns along the way. You'll want to read this one after dark, ideally with the wind whistling in the eaves and a window banging somewhere just out of reach. But keep the light switch handy. You just might need it.

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Member ratings (47,102)

  • Virginia S.

    Dorchester, MA

    Riley Sager did it again. This book doesn’t disappoint- in fact I couldn’t put it down! Each book is better than the last and I can’t wait for the next one! 15/10 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Jessica S.

    Clayton , GA

    ρєяfє¢т fσя ѕρσσку ѕєαѕσи!! α тωιѕту тαℓє σf α нσυѕє αи∂ αℓѕσ α тσωи, нαυитє∂ ву тнє gнσѕтѕ σf тнє ραѕт, ℓєανιиg уσυ ωσи∂єяιиg αт єνєяу тυяи!

  • Erin S.

    Boise, ID

    Riley Sager does it again!! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. he keeps you guessing until it happens. You think you know but you don’t. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ wonderfully written characters. I couldn’t put it down!

  • Kara D.

    Meridian, ID

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Such a good read! I was drawn in immediately and loved the back and forth from the main character’s perspective to her father’s book about the house. Spooky, suspenseful, twists and turns!

  • Melanie R.

    Laurys Station, PA

    Holy cow. I have never read a book in the “horror” genre so I was hesitant to give this book a try (I get spooked very easily), but I truly could not put this book down. Def recommend! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

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