I’ve read all four books by Riley Sager (some of them twice), and I will continue to read whatever he writes. He is fantastic when it comes to pacing. He adds just the right amount of sharp detail -- and not a bit more than needed -- to help you visualize the story. And he is a master of plotting, redirects and twists.
In this latest, he does NOT disappoint.
The set up of this story is very similar to the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. This isn’t a bad thing, for those (like me!) who loved that series. If you also liked that series, or the source material -- the late, great Shirley Jackson’s incredible novel of the same name -- you’ll most likely really enjoy this gothic, perfect-for-Halloween read.
Maggie Holt is an interior designer who has just inherited a large house in Vermont, called Baneberry Hall, after the recent death of her father. Twenty-five years ago, her family fled the home in terror, and her father wrote a bestselling nonfiction book called House of Horrors, which outlined the incredible experiences they had with the supernatural at Baneberry.
The book alternates between Maggie’s present-day return to Baneberry Hall and chapters from her father’s terrifying bestseller, so that the two experiences unfold in parallel. Originally, Maggie plans to fix up the house and sell it, but as she gets pulled deeper into the secrets of the house, she becomes determined to uncover the truth of what happened in the house so many years ago, even if it kills her.
I really didn’t see the twists and turns coming. I thought I did. I thought I was all smart and had it all figured out, but I was fooled more times than I care to admit. Which is what I love about a great thriller.
Sager’s last book, Lock Every Door, remains my favorite because it is so unique and the characters so bold and specific. Still, I devoured this latest in about a day and loved every page of it. It really is the perfect gothic, super-creepy, haunted house read for October!