The Dead House
Author: Dawn Kurtagich (Who, is awesome, just saying.)
Publication Date: August 6th, 2015
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
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 . . .
Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.
Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?
Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you've finished reading.
You guys know I love Psychological Thrillers and Horror, right? So having The Dead House as part Psychological Thriller and Horror? The Dead House couldn't get any more of a me book, and it was one hell of a crazy ride, and honesty? Fucking whoa. That's pretty much what I was thinking the whole way through it.
Two words to appropriately sum up The Dead House (that isn't
holy shit, because holy shit.) is psychologically disturbing. I'll get
my issue out of the way because I only have one problem with it, and starting
it, I thought that it would have been the format of how the story is told, but
it wasn't. And it wasn't having a connection, like my major issue in books are,
but it wasn't that either (not that I had a connection, because really, I don't
expect it with the genre, especially because you can't trust any character. And
I mean, any character. My main issues
is that I felt two completely different things about the first half and the
Now, some SPOILERS ahead, just so you're forewarned, because honestly, I just tried to write a spoiler free review and deleted it because it made no sense whatsoever. So if you don't want to read spoilers, just buy the book, seriously. It. Is. Amazing.
The first half of The Dead House is more of the psychological thriller part, exploring the role dissociative identity disorder, which made a lot of sense with what we learn towards the end, especially towards the end. (Considering how D.I.D is developed.)
The thing I had a problem with is what we're led to believe throughout most of it, and the implication of black arts, that's what confused the hell out of me, and still is, because of the way it's strongly incorporated that makes you believe another thing and while one is made clearer than the other, you'll still second guess yourself. But, I'm still believing the psychological thriller side more. Which is what I meant especially because of how more erratic and how we get to see more as her behaviour derailed, whether that's to do with her psychosis or other...things. (I so want to get more into that, but it would completely spoil the whole thing, so I won't. But, if you've read it, please comment, I NEED to talk about it.)
The format, as I said, I thought would have been my problem, but it wasn't. It was such a great way of giving a third person look into it while still being on a first person look basis (which, I know, sounds confusing) but it's told through police interviews, psychiatrist notes and transcripts, Kaitlyn's journal and post-it notes, and the most important (and frightening) footage clips. It's a very unique format and it gives you more of an insight than if it was written from perspectives. The Dead House is a slow one, but it's worth it, and honestly, I wasn't even bored because it's so interesting and grips you, and even though you have a detached sense to it, because of some of the way it's written, but it makes it so much better because you can see it happening, even though it's already happened.
The Dead House is addictive, plenty of twisted, you might question your own mental stability because Dawn Kurtagich delivers twists and turns that will mess with your head, and it will mess with your head, and she should take a bow.