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Explore all the Riley Sager books in order and ranked with reviews here. I’ve read all of his psychological thriller books and break them down for you with my and other readers’ thoughts on which ones deliver the best. You’ll be able to pick your next twisty read by him with ease, so let’s get literary!

home before dark by riley sager in front of front door.

Riley Sager Books in Order

Below are all of Riley Sager’s books in order of publication date:

  1. Final Girls (2017)
  2. The Last Time I Lied (2018)
  3. Lock Every Door (2019)
  4. Home Before Dark (2020)
  5. Survive the Night (2021)
  6. The House Across the Lake (2022)
  7. The Only One Left (2023)
  8. Middle of the Night (2024)

Reading Order: You do not “have to” read the books by Riley Sager in any particular order. They are all standalone novels that can be read in any order.


Age Rating

Riley Sager’s books are best for adults ages 18 and over. They are all psychological thrillers that involve murder and other violence that may not be suitable for teens.

Riley Sager Books Ranked

Riley Sager’s Best Book

The Only One Left is my favorite Riley Sager book, and it is widely considered to be his best novel. It’s rated the highest of all his books on GoodReads. It draws inspiration from the infamous true crime story of Lizzie Borden and offers a shocking plot twist.

Below are all the Riley Sager ranked, beginning with my personal favorite:

  1. The Only One Left: ★★★★★
  2. Home Before Dark: ★★★★☆
  3. Survive the Night: ★★★★☆
  4. Lock Every Door: ★★★★☆
  5. Middle of the Night: ★★★☆☆
  6. Final Girls: ★★★☆☆
  7. The Last Time I Lied: ★★★☆☆
  8. The House Across the Lake: ★★☆☆☆

Riley Sager Thriller Book Reviews

NOTE

In my experience, people tend to feel differently about the ranking of Riley Sager’s books, so I recommend that you focus not just on my rankings above but also on the full reviews of the books by Riley Sager below to determine what appeals most to you specifically.

The Only One Left

Best for fans of thrillers that feel spooky

  • My Ranking: #1 of 8
  • My Review: ★★★★★

The Only One Left is Riley Sager at his absolute finest, and it is widely considered to be his best novel.

It’s a chilling 1980s Gothic tale about a tarnished caregiver named Kit. She must work for a woman named Lenora, accused of a gruesome family massacre in 1929, in her spooky cliffside estate called “Hope’s End.” Lenora, the fear-inducing “Lizzie Borden” of her Maine town, has been rendered mute by a stroke but wishes to tell her side of the story over a typewriter.

It’s eerie and ominous, and it takes twists and turns the reader can never expect, which always makes for a great thriller. My jaw actually DROPPED several times.

Given its spooky and atmospheric vibes, it would be a great book to read in the Fall when it gets colder and darker at night and Halloween approaches.


Home Before Dark

Best for fans of haunted house stories

  • My Ranking: #2 of 8
  • My Review: ★★★★☆

In Home Before Dark, a woman named Maggie returns to her childhood house. It was made famous by her father’s bestselling memoir, which described it as a haunted house of horrors, with a sordid trail of deaths within its walls. Maggie’s family fled the house after living there for only three weeks after a series of ghostly encounters.

Skeptical Maggie was only five at the time and remembers nothing as she makes plans to renovate and sell the home. After a grizzly discovery, though, the house gains notoriety once again. Maggie goes on a quest to determine the true history of the horrors and dark secrets are revealed.

Home Before Dark somehow feels like both a slow burn and a page-turner. It was also nice to get the perspectives of both an adult Maggie and that of her father’s book sprinkled in. The ending surprised me, and it truly delivered ghostly thrills.

While some readers thought the “ghost” descriptions in this Fall thriller book were unrealistic, I thought Sager ultimately explained them in a way that made sense.

Lastly, as so many readers have said, I agree that you will never think of The Sound of Music the same way again.


Survive the Night

Best for fans of suspense

  • My Ranking: #3 of 8
  • My Review: ★★★★☆

In Survive the Night, it’s 1991, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie is in a car with Josh, a man who might be a serial killer. They met via a campus board, both looking to share the drive home.

Charlie is wracked with guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend — the third victim of the Campus Killer. She’s also an unreliable narrator struggling with mental health issues.

Josh claims to be heading home to care for his sick father. There’s something suspicious about him, though, and, as they travel across the highway in the dead of night, she begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer.

This entire book is filled with suspense, and what follows is a game of cat and mouse that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This is particularly true since it plays out at a time when the only call for help could be made on a payphone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run.

It kept me super engaged, and I was not able to solve the mystery. I also thought the ending tied the book together really cohesively and made me feel really satisfied.


Lock Every Door

Best for fans of plot twists

  • My Ranking: #4 of 8
  • My Review: ★★★★☆

In Lock Every Door, Jules is twentysomething, orphaned, and newly single. So, she feels like she won the lottery when she gets a job apartment sitting at the renowned New York City building, The Bartholemew.

But the building’s rules are odd: no visitors, no nights spent away from the apartment, and no disturbing the other rich and famous residents.

Things get even weirder when Ingrid, another apartment sitter in the building, goes missing and leaves behind a note that simply says, “Be careful.” In her quest to find Ingrid, Jules digs into the building’s sordid past, which leaves her fighting for her life.

I loved the descriptions of the historic building in Lock Every Door! While there was a major twist I wasn’t expecting, I did have some correct suspicions halfway through, and I also hoped for more resolution about Jules’ past. Overall, though, it was a really satisfying and unique thriller.


Middle of the Night

Best for fans of the occult and family drama

  • My Ranking: #5 of 8
  • My Review: ★★★☆☆

Middle of the Night is about a man who returns home, after experiencing trauma there decades earlier, when his best friend, Billy, was kidnapped from their tent at night and never found.

There, strange occurrences plague his mind at night, and he begins to suspect it’s Billy. So, he reunites with old friends and family to finally uncover the truth about what happened to Billy.

The investigation took some odd directions (in my opinion), and I definitely suspected correctly pretty early on. That being said, there were also a lot of plot twists, particularly towards the end, that kept me really engaged and surprised along the way.


Final Girls

Best for fans of crime-filled thrillers

  • My Ranking: #6 of 8
  • My Review: ★★★☆☆

In Final Girls, Quincy Carpenter became a member of the so-called “Final Girls Club” ten years earlier, when she went on a vacation with friends in college and was the only survivor of a horrific murder massacre.

There are two other members of this club: Lisa, whose nine sorority sisters succumbed to a college dropout’s knife, and Sam, who fought and survived against the “Sack Man” during a shift at the Nightlight Inn. Despite the media’s attempts, they never met.
 
Flash forward ten years and Quincy has an apartment, a popular baking blog, a boyfriend, and a trusted friend in the police officer who had saved her life during the massacre. As a result of her trauma, she can’t recall the events of that night.
 
Then, Lisa is found dead and Sam appears at Quincy’s doorstep. Sam’s presence and the circumstances surrounding Lisa’s death force Quincy to face the past, and it comes with a whirlwind of consequences and suspense.

I found Final Girls to be really immersive and unique. I was also unable to guess the ending, which is always a plus. Sam’s character was a bit annoying, but overall, I enjoyed this thriller and definitely recommend it.


The Last Time I Lied

Best for fans of solving mysteries

  • My Ranking: #7 of 8
  • My Review: ★★★☆☆

The Last Time I Lied is the story of the game “Two Truths and a Lie” gone wrong. A group of girls played it as teenagers in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. But the game ended the night Emma watched from the bed as the others snuck out of their cabin into the darkness. They disappeared without a trace.

Over a decade later, Emma is a rising artist in New York art, painting massive canvases of her vanished bunkmates. When the owner of Camp Nightingale learns this, she invites Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Seeing an opportunity to find out what really happened to the girls all those years ago, Emma agrees.

Upon arriving at Camp Nightingale, Emma sees familiar faces and is even assigned to the same cabin. But, when strange things start happening, she finds that digging into the past can cause serious threats in the present. The closer she gets to the truth, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I was able to guess “what happened” very close to the beginning. There was also an additional plot twist at the very end that I found to lack believability. That being said, a lot of readers disagree with me and really like this one.


The House Across the Lake

Best for fans of unreliable narrators and the supernatural

  • My Ranking: #8 of 8
  • My Review: ★★☆☆☆

In The House Across the Lake, a recently widowed actress passes time at her family’s Vermont lake house, watching the glamorous couple in the house across the lake through binoculars.

When she befriends the woman she spies on, it becomes clear that the marriage isn’t perfect after all. Then, when the woman suddenly vanishes, the actress becomes consumed with finding out what happened to her. In doing so, she uncovers even darker truths in the process.

The first half of this thriller felt too similar to other popular thrillers, such as The Girl on the Train and The Woman in the Window. Also, while I don’t necessarily dislike supernatural elements, the supernatural turns this particular story took felt odd to me. That being said, perhaps these elements will work better for you.

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About Riley Sager

about

Riley Sager is the pseudonym for Todd Ritter, the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of several psychological thriller novels since 2017. His books are known for having female leads and incorporating murder and plot twists into their storylines.

Riley Sager is a Pennsylvania native who resides in New Jersey. He is married and has referred to his husband on Instagram.

Frequently Asked Questions

In what order should I read Riley Sager books?

Riley Sager’s psychological thrillers are standalone novels that can be read in any order. You can start with The Only One Left, which is widely considered to be his best novel.

What is Riley Sagers’ next book?

June 2024’s Middle of the Night is about a man whose childhood friend disappeared decades earlier. Secrets still lie beneath the surface of his picture-perfect neighborhood.

What is the release date of Riley Sager’s new book?

Middle of the Night has a release date of June 18, 2024.

Which Riley Sager book to start with?

Start with Riley Sager’s book The Only One Left, which is widely considered to be his best novel. It draws inspiration from the infamous true crime story of Lizzie Borden.

Are all Riley Sager books supernatural?

No. The House Across the Lake veers most into supernatural territory, but most of his books do not.

Are Riley Sager books a series?

No. Riley Sager’s psychological thriller books are all standalone novels.

Conclusion

While many readers differ as to the best of Riley Sager’s books in order, one thing is clear: they are twisty thrillers that satisfy your craving. This particular backlist catalog is a great one to dive deep into because they are all so different. I recommend you start with The Only One Left, which is my favorite and is widely considered to be his best novel.

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