Middle of the Night: A Novel

Middle of the Night: A Novel

by Riley Sager

Narrated by Santino Fontana

Unabridged — 11 hours, 22 minutes

Middle of the Night: A Novel

Middle of the Night: A Novel

by Riley Sager

Narrated by Santino Fontana

Unabridged — 11 hours, 22 minutes

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Notes From Your Bookseller

Riley Sager returns with scares in suburbia. Beware! This nail-biting thriller will make you question everything you think you know about your neighbors.

In the latest jaw-dropping thriller from New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager, a man must contend with the long-ago disappearance of his childhood best friend-and the dark secrets lurking just beyond the safe confines of his picture-perfect neighborhood.

The worst thing to ever happen on Hemlock Circle occurred in Ethan Marsh's backyard. One July night, ten-year-old Ethan and his best friend and neighbor, Billy, fell asleep in a tent set up on a manicured lawn in a quiet, quaint New Jersey cul de sac. In the morning, Ethan woke up alone. During the night, someone had sliced the tent open with a knife and taken Billy. He was never seen again.

Thirty years later, Ethan has reluctantly returned to his childhood home. Plagued by bad dreams and insomnia, he begins to notice strange things happening in the middle of the night. Someone seems to be roaming the cul de sac at odd hours, and signs of Billy's presence keep appearing in Ethan's backyard. Is someone playing a cruel prank? Or has Billy, long thought to be dead, somehow returned to Hemlock Circle?

The mysterious occurrences prompt Ethan to investigate what really happened that night, a quest that reunites him with former friends and neighbors and leads him into the woods that surround Hemlock Circle. Woods where Billy claimed ghosts roamed and where a mysterious institute does clandestine research on a crumbling estate.  

The closer Ethan gets to the truth, the more he realizes that no place-be it quiet forest or suburban street-is completely safe. And that the past has a way of haunting the present.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 03/11/2024

Bestseller Sager (The Only One Left) expertly doles out chills and pathos in his mesmerizing latest. In 1994, when Ethan Marsh was 10 years old, his best friend, Billy Barringer, was kidnapped from the tent where both boys were sleeping in Ethan’s New Jersey backyard and never seen again. Thirty years later, Ethan’s marriage has ended, his parents have decamped to Florida, and he’s returned to live on the well-to-do cul-de-sac where he grew up. Still plagued by nightmares about Billy’s disappearance, Ethan comes to believe that someone may be lurking in the shadows of Hemlock Circle: neighbors’ motion-sensor lights flick on for no apparent reason; he senses a presence “linger in the way certain smells do” when he’s out for night walks. His paranoia increases when someone tosses a baseball into his yard, the private signal Billy used to give him when he wanted to play. Could Billy have returned? Or is his kidnapper back for seconds? Sager takes his time ratcheting up the tension, peppering in crucial flashbacks that flesh out Ethan and Billy’s friendship and painting a three-dimensional portrait of Ethan’s fractured mind in the present. This standout work of psychological suspense confirms that Sager has few equals when it comes to merging creepiness and compassion. Agent: Michelle Brower, Trellis Literary. (June)

From the Publisher

Praise for Middle of the Night

"Full of tension, urgency, atmosphere, and feeling—this is Riley Sager at his very best."
–Lee Child, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“A thriller with a touch of the supernatural, Sager’s suspenseful mystery is gripping, unsettling, and for some fans, takes a deeper dive into emotional conflict and trauma than in his previous novels.”
–Huffington Post
“If there's one book that will be on BookTok shelves in 2024, it's Middle of the Night.
–Refinery 29

“Bestseller Sager expertly doles out chills and pathos in his mesmerizing latest…This standout work of psychological suspense confirms that Sager has few equals when it comes to merging creepiness and compassion.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)

“There are twists aplenty in Sager’s latest. His signature style will leave readers dizzyingly satisfied.”
Library Journal

“Sager, author of Final Girls (2017) and Survive the Night (2021)—to name but two of many fine thrillers—has devised a genuinely frightening story and populated it with characters who feel as real as anyone you might encounter in the ‘real world.’ He is a master craftsman, and Middle of the Night is a superlative novel.”

"I've read all of Riley Sager's novels and Middle of the Night is my new favorite. It's a sweet-and-spooky story about an unsolved mystery, childhood friendships, and things that go bump in the night—with plenty of 90s nostalgia and a twist I never saw coming.  Read it outdoors with a flashlight on a warm summer's evening—if you dare!" 
—Jason Rekulak, bestselling author of Hidden Pictures

Middle of the Night is Riley Sager at his masterful best—this story is dark, scary, and twisty, but also bittersweet. It’s the secrets that hide in a bucolic neighborhood on a summer night, lingering in the freshly cut grass and the sound of crickets. You will follow these fascinating characters through its brilliantly woven plot all the way to the unexpected, poignant end.”
Simone St. James, New York Times bestselling author of Murder Road

Praise for Riley Sager

“The latest dependable airport bookstore grab and name in summer suspense.”
The Chicago Tribune

“Sager is a master of the twist and the turn.”
Rolling Stone
“[Sager’s novels are] all creepily atmospheric, easy to read without being fluffy, and fun as hell.”

"Suspense master."
USA Today

Library Journal


In 1994, 10-year-old Billy was kidnapped, leaving best friend Ethan with nothing but a recurring dream and a knife hole in the side of their shared tent. Billy was snatched while the boys were camping out in Ethan's back yard, which left the close-knit cul-de-sac residents of Hemlock Circle reeling. Now, 30 years later, as Ethan moves back home, he can't help but feel that Billy is still here, toying with him, begging him to remember the events of that night. Did Ethan really not wake up, or could he be blocking out what happened? Worse, could he have recognized the killer? Flashbacks from various characters will keep readers guessing, even if Ethan's childhood scenes feel a bit too mindful for the average 10-year-old. Themes of survivor's guilt and grief are touched on and add a heartfelt, empathetic aspect. While the paranormal element would have benefited from more exploration, it adds a pleasant chill as the tension gradually builds, ending in head-spinning reveals. VERDICT Red herrings abound, and there are twists aplenty in Sager's latest (following The House Across the Lake). His signature style will leave readers dizzyingly satisfied.—Elisha Sheffer

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159502728
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 06/18/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 314,570
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