Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Publisher: Dutton Books
Maggie’s father has just passed away and when she goes to his lawyer’s office she is surprised to learn that her father, Ewan, not only still owns Baneberry Hall but that he has left it to her. Maggie and her family only lived there for 20 days but it has followed them around ever since because her father wrote a best selling book about the paranormal horror they went through there. Maggie realizes that this is her chance to get to the bottom of why her parents lied about Baneberry at the same time she renovates it to sell. Maggie quickly realizes that all she thought about her parents and her dad’s book might not be true.
Riley Sager outdid himself with this book. He has been my favorite thriller author since his debut, Final Girls, and every year he just gets better and better. This book is phenomenal. Sager takes the familiar haunted house story and makes it somehow completely unique and fascinating. The formatting of this story is masterful. Each chapter of Maggie’s story is followed by a chapter of her father’s book, A House of Horrors. This is such a great choice because it amps up the suspense of both storylines more and more as the book progresses. The suspense is also aided by the fact that we know Maggie only stayed in the house when she was younger for 20 days and Baneberry Hall has a history of horrific events occurring on July 15. Knowing both of these things early on was a genius move on Sager’s part because the more into the story I got the more I wanted to keep reading because I knew it was just going to keep getting better.
The only critique I have of this book is that Maggie’s lack of knowledge about the house felt like a plot device at times. She mentions that she has looked it up before but yet she seems so clueless about things. There was a couple of times where I was like girl, have you never heard of Google or Reddit? But that is only a minor complaint and didn’t affect me giving this book the five stars that it deserves. The ending alone was perfection and had me on the edge of my seat more than once. This whole book was incredibly well paced and well crafted. This is the epitome of what a thriller should be and if you were to only read one, then this is the one I would recommend.