Book Title The Dead House
Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Number of pages: 432
Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .
Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:
– Story is presented through a series of evidence (e.g. diary entries, video and voice-call transcripts, news articles, etc.,)
– Unreliable narrator encourages skeptical hats be worn; revelations can be guessed at but does not dilute the end-game reveal
– There are unsettling moments but nothing crazy in terms of gore. Also, the entire story takes place at night basically, or in very dark, claustrophobic spaces
– Can be difficult to feel compassion for various characters/MC
– There is a supernatural touch to the evil within this story
Let me share some “lessons” The Dead House has taught me:
- Unreliable narrators are the reason why 10-foot poles exist.
- Having friends interested in witchy woo-woo dark magic means you’re setting yourself up to die.
- Vlogging the supernatural is just not a good idea. “Let me just pull out some EVIL from my back-pocket…”—like, why is this even a thing?
- Attending parties with underage substance use underscores bad shit happening. Moderation is a myth.
- When you find out your school is connected with a hospital, you should make immediate plans to book it to Mars.
- Cancel any plans you have of being a criminal profiler. Because you won’t succeed.
- Schrödinger’s Cat lived and died for you, so why would you open up some sketchy artifact-diary? Just don’t. Or do? (R.I.P you.)
Full disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy of The Dead House from the Book Blog Ontario Meet-Up. I extend thanks to Little Brown Books for providing me with the opportunity to review this book.