Review of The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

TheDeadHouseThe Dead House
By: Dawn Kurtagich
Release Date: September 15th 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Kelly from Effortlessly Reading

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…

…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.

My Thoughts:
I finished this book last night and my first take away was that The Dead House was brilliantly and wonderfully WEIRD. I don’t even know how to adequately form a review for this book because it was just so strange and really relies on the reader’s take away. This book meshed horror and psychology wonderfully and had me hiding the book at bedtime (I felt like the creepy cover was watching me).

The book’s format was really interesting but might make some readers nervous since it’s not common. The story unfolds through news articles, journal entries and descriptions of video found during an investigation. The novel starts with a report about an incident happening and then fast forwards two decades to the finding of Kaitlyn’s journal. I absolutely loved this technique and felt it was an incredible way to approach an unreliable narrator.

I really don’t want to give too much away since the fun of reading The Dead House revolves around watching the mystery unfold and for the reader to take their views and create what they believe really happened. This book read very quickly and had me at the edge of my seat. I read this over the course of two evenings and I’ll say…it disturbed my sleep! Really, this book delves into violence, psychology, demons, possessions, witch-craft, ghosts…and really all the creepy things you could possibly think of all meshed together into a crazy awesome book.

Because of the format I did feel like an observer and did not connect to the characters in the way I normally would but this did not detract in the slightest for me. I felt reading about the events I knew had happened and having a bit of an idea of what the incident was really added to the tense atmosphere.

Final Thoughts:
I’m sorry that this review couldn’t go into more detail but if you like to be slightly horrified and haunted then I think you’ll love this book. I know for a fact this will not be a book I’ll soon forget. Add Dawn Kurtagich to my ‘pick up whatever she writes’ list.