The Sound of Music soundtrack has never been so terrifying and I do not think I’ll ever be able to hear “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” again without experiencing a cold sweat. Riley Sager‘s HOME BEFORE DARK is filled with strange noises, lights turning on and off, cold and hot spots, a child visited by people only she can see, music mysteriously playing and a beautiful, spooky house with a chilling history.
Until twenty-five years ago when five-year-old Maggie Holt’s family fled the house leaving everything behind after living there only twenty days, Baneberry Hall was nothing more than a local legend in its small Vermont town. It had a horrific past, including a murder/suicide that took place just before the Holt’s moved in but other than that, it was just a creepy old house, remarkable only in its beauty and history. Shortly after the night of the Holt’s sudden departure from Baneberry Hall, Maggie’s father published a memoir entitled House of Horrors which not only made the house a nationwide sensation but also defined Maggie’s entire life in a way that made her resent her parents and desperate to know the truth about her time at Baneberry Hall. Now, twenty-five years later, Maggie learns that she has inherited the house upon her father’s death and she returns there to find desperately needed answers. The only thing she is absolutely sure of is that House of Horrors is full of lies. But, after arriving, Maggie starts to experience the things her father wrote about all those years ago. Could the book have been true all along?
HOME BEFORE DARK is unique in that it’s almost like reading two books at the same time. We experience Maggie’s present, as she tries to unlock the truth about her family’s time at Baneberry Hall, while reading her father’s memoir, House of Horrors between chapters. It is truly terrifying, learning with Maggie that her own experience in the house matches those of her father so many years ago. With Maggie, we are puppets thrown into a world of uncertainty and fear while Riley Sager masterfully pulls the strings. Be prepared for a lot of “what the hell?!” moments as you’re reading this one and, dear horror friend, read after dark at your own risk.
HOME BEFORE DARK is available to own now and can be purchased here.