Book Review: Home Before Dark

Maggie Holt doesn’t remember living in a haunted house. When she inherits Baneberry Hall, a creaky old house haunted by her father’s tell-all novel, she battles her memories, her beliefs, and a town full of people who hate her family’s guts. She searches for the truth but finds much, much more.

The word that best describes Home Before Dark is “creepy.” The house is big and creepy, the memories are creepy, her father’s novel is creepy, the house’s history is creepy, and Maggie’s blind spots are creepy as hell. Is it terrifying? No. Does it make you think and work to puzzle it all together? Yep. I couldn’t help but think of The Haunting of Hill House, but I hesitate to make a comparison.

The book-within-a-book aspect of this story was really well done and broke in the right places with the right scenes. One is present tense and one is past, so there’s no way to get confused about what happens when. I was afraid one story would ruin the other and in the end, that’s kind of what happened. I don’t mind a good twist, but I don’t like to feel cheated. This one is right on the fence. Either way, it was a lot of fun to read and knowing the end, I’d love to read it again.

I listened to the audiobook version of Home Before Dark and enjoyed both narrators. They were well-matched and fit their characters well. Their pacing is good and their voice acting is spot on, so no complaints there. I do not understand the title of this book, but the cover art is great.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is a delicious haunted house story that twists, turns, then twists again. Suspense writers, take note: this is how you pace.

Book Review: An Eye for an Eye

DI Kate Young is back on the force, working hard to solve the vicious murder of a prominent businessman, but PTSD is her constant companion. Flashbacks to a horrific mass shooting on a train car plague her every move. Her colleagues notice that she’s become confused, stressed, and is self-medicating. Does DI Kate Young have what it takes to stop a serial killer while battling her own demons?

The main mystery of An Eye for an Eye is intense, twisting, and has a satisfying payoff. The killer is creative and even though the MO remains the same, it’s a heart-pounding story every time they strike. I never could’ve guessed whodunit, but after all the evidence was laid out, it all made perfect sense. There are still so many mysteries, red herrings, and untold stories here that I am very glad that this book is clearly set up to be a series. 

The representation of life with mental illness is a thing of beauty. Too often, characters with mental illnesses are caricatured, diminished, or treated as other. DI Kate Young is still the best detective on the force, but she has unresolved trauma making it hard for her to get through the day. She may want to return to work, but her PTSD insists she take more time. The constant interruptions of her flashbacks (triggered by things as innocuous as ketchup on a french fry) and her inner struggle with addiction to the pills that keep her memories at bay is wonderfully emotional. 

The writing style is immersive and sweeping. Cinematic cut-scenes and flashbacks broke up the main storyline. Some were from Kate’s experience before the book began, some were scenes that were retold by suspects, witnesses, etc. 

This was the first book I’ve read by Carol Wyer, but this absolutely will not be the last. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.