Riley Sager is the pseudonym of an author from New Jersey. I have recently considered writing under a pseudonym in order to experience the freedom of anonymity, the release of responsibility, and the opportunity to fully explore beliefs that might be offensive to people I know - that is, I'm a good girl and don't want anyone to think otherwise.
This is the first book by Sager that I've read, and I give it a 9 out of 10. There are a few subplots left open, but they are minute and overshadowed by the story as a whole. My husband is excellent at "who dunnit"s and is right nearly all of the time when he guesses - and that's in the first five minutes of any tv show or movie. Me? I like the ride! I like to suspend belief, follow the clues like a bee bouncing from flower to flower - here for a moment, there for a moment, and ultimately let someone else do the work of making the honey.
Sager's novel is written as two stories - one in first person (Maggie) and current time, the other as a novel where in Maggie is the main character of a "true" story. In 2020, when all of the world is tilted off kilter and phrases like "new normal" and "cancel culture" are the foundation of our logic, its not surprising that the paranormal and supernatural have invaded our thoughts, television and reading. What else can explain the strange happenings in our homes, our neighborhoods, and countries?
Home Before Dark gives you space to question your beliefs, decide what's real and what is mislabeled, and ultimately, keep all hands and feet away from the edge of your bed during the night. I revel in the straightforward writing of the unexplained. Sager offers no apologies, no "oh gosh, just a short in the electrical wire" explanations, no "Mr. Green in the library with a rope" summary. Good people might be bad, bad people might be misjudged, and our heroine might be mistaken.
One of the many delights of this book are the metaphors and similes written by the author. Here are two of my favorites:
"A ceiling fan that, when it spun at full speed, sounded like the clicking of teeth." This is on "page 3" of the book. Just that sentence tells you all you need to know about Sager's ability to write a book that creeps into your psyche and makes it self at home.
"The sky has the same purple-black hue as a bruise." (page 57) Pain - deep pain that will take time to heal; the phrase is used to describe the setting as Maggie arrives at the home where she briefly lived as a child, the home that is the focus of this ghost story.
Finally, Sager has a great sense of humor as you'll discover towards the end of the book when the solution seems at hand - except its' not.
Is it worth your time? Absolutely. Try to read it at night before bed for full effect.
Is it worth your money? Yes. Mwahahahahahaha
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