Told between alternating chapters of the present day and a published book manuscript, this thriller explores what can be living inside a home and how it can invade every aspect of its inhabitants.

The Plot

Maggie’s father wrote a famous book about her childhood home, House of Horrors. The book was a bestseller, but Maggie always believed that the nonfiction book about their haunted house was not so true. After her father dies, she inherits the home and makes shocking discoveries of her own.

The way Sager tells the story alternates between Maggie’s fathers book chapters and Maggie’s own saga of returning to the house and discovering the truth about Baneberry Hall years later. This structure is effective at propelling the narrative. Just as revelations are given in Maggie’s father’s book, we are on to present day. It keeps the reader turning the pages, but there is more to be desired.

The Verdict

Compulsively readable, but empty as always. I close the last page of every Riley Sager book asking myself now what just happened? But I still buy the new release every time he puts one out. The quality of storytelling is not high, but Sager does force his reader to hang on every word for answers. Once the answers come, they are revealed too quickly and in such a jumbled manner. The reading experience is a race of enjoyment, but I’m always left with a sour taste in my mouth when I finish.

Should You Read It?

I have read every novel Sager has published under this pseudonym. I get more tired of the shenanigan emotions I’m left with after every novel he publishes. This is the fourth thriller I’ve read from Sager and I’m so conflicted. On one hand, I feel the experience of rushing through the novel for answers gives my brain a fun ride and break from the real world. On the other hand, when I finish his novels, they always fall flat.

I guess when deciding whether to read this one or not, the question is “Have you read Riley Sager before?” If the answer is yes, and you also answer yes to “Did you enjoy it?” then grab this one right up. It’s the same techniques and same style of writing and suspense. There’s nothing new here, but if you’ve enjoyed it in the past, you will enjoy this one. If you’re a fan of smarter suspense, this probably isn’t for you. If you get upset when endings are rushed and not as great as they probably could have been, this probably isn’t for you. However, if you enjoy the journey of a novel rather than just the ending and its payoff, this might work for you.

Riley Sager

The rush I get from the actual reading of a Sager thriller is great, but I’m just getting so tired of feeling let down when I finish them. That’s why I’m giving this a halfway rating and probably not picking up the next one.

2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)
About the Author

Sarah Moon is a stone-cold sorceress from Tennessee whose interests include serial killers, horror fiction, and the newest dystopian blockbuster. Sarah holds an M.A. in English Literature and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing. She works as an English professor as well as a cemeterian. Sarah is most likely to cover horror in print including prose, poetry, and graphic forms.

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