Home Before Dark by Riley Sager (2020) Review

In Home Before Dark, Sager gifts us with two superb books in one: an amazing thriller and suspense that dips its toes in horror.

That moment when you start a book by one of your favourite authors knowing you will love it, but STILL get more than you were expecting. Yup, it happened to me with Home Before Dark.

This book ticked all of my boxes, I loved the twists, the pacing, the characters, the care with which it was written and how it ended!

This book has two narrators, and both unreliable at that! The past is told in the form of a book written by Ewan Holt, in which he narrates the events that passed during the 20 days his family lived in a house until they fled, in the middle of the night, leaving everything behind! Sager really flirted with Horror in Ewan’s narrative and I was spooked! I appreciate that the whole book Ewan wrote is contained in “Home Before Dark.”

The present is narrated by Maggie Holt, Ewan’s daughter who just inherited this house, 20 years after the incident and is told that the house is not safe FOR her. What does she do? She moves in, of course! And digs into the events that happened when she was 5, event of which she has no memories at all.

At the center of both, you have a broken family, shaped by a shared tragedy and tainted by one person’s decision to share it with the world. Was the book a true account or was it an elaborated lie? We rely on Maggie to answer that question.

I don’t want to spoil the book so I will leave it at you must read this! This is a thoroughly satisfying book! Sager is really good at drawing complex, real, characters. In fact, in my humble opinion, he is one of the few male authors I know who does an amazing, respectful and superb job with their female characters. In Home Before Dark, Sager showed us, once again, how versatile he is with Ewan’s book. Ewan had his own voice and his book read original and in character, I can’t imagine a less talented writer pulling this off as well and seamlessly as Sager did.

The one thing I was disappointed in was the fact that, in the audio book, the song that keeps playing wasn’t sung (I was singing it in my head as I read the book and only switched to audio because I didn’t want to put the book down as I ran some errands). This is not on the author at all. Or even the narrators, they didn’t do a poor job – but this book is better and scarier and more suspenseful when read. So if you can, read the book first and save the audio for a reread.

Enjoyability      10

Characters      9

Ambience        10

Fairness          9

Plot      9

Execution        10

My total rating: 4.83

Video Review: https://youtu.be/2dfWNwqUxT4

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