Home Before DarkHome Before Dark by Riley Sager
My rating: 4/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star


i mean…okay.

this is a rounded-up four because it has a whole bunch of problems, but for every iffy part, there’s a horrific and memorable scene that makes up for it. many of which involve snakes. to be honest, i’m happy enough just being entertained these days—i don’t need to be enriched or educated, i crave diversion, and this book absolutely fits the bill.

it’s a haunted house/family mystery story about a woman named maggie holt who, as a little girl, lived in a house as saturated by the supernatural The Amityville Horror. her family lasted less than a month before being spooked right on outta there, and maggie was only five years old, so she has no real memories of her time there, but, also like The Amityville Horror, her father wrote a best-selling book about their experiences, none of which adult-maggie believes. when her father dies, she learns that he still owned the property, and has left it to her, so, against his dying wishes and her mother’s living recommendation, she decides to check it out on her own.

the novel back-and-forths between chapters of her father’s book and her ‘present-day’ experiences, building up a fantastic head of steam and one helluvan unsettling atmosphere; one striking moment of inexplicable creepiness after another.

i read this in one big gulp, and it’s a spookyfun page-turner, but it’s built upon a highly unstable foundation, which, should you stop to examine or poke at it, falls apart into a real big mess.

you have to believe that View Spoiler ». you have to believe that View Spoiler ». you have to believe that View Spoiler ».

i mean, all of that is so far-fetched a labrador retriever couldn’t bring it back to you, but it also doesn’t really matter, because while those revelations are beyond bonkers, the momentum leading up to them is fantastic, and although you need to suspend disbelief to accept some of the more illogical details, there are strewn amongst them some legitimately satisfying explanations. and also snakes. so many snakes.

overall, it’s an effective and engaging ride, and if you can squint your way through the dubious bits, you’ll have a lot of fun with it.

read my book reviews on goodreads

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