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. – Goodreads.com
Wow. This is definitely a book that will stick with me for a while – a dark, haunting, enthralling story I was reading at 3 am to finish. I was that hooked.
Be warned – this book isn’t for the faint of heart and the writing style may not be for everyone, as the story is told through police reports, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage, and diary entries. Personally, I thought telling the story in that way and alternating between time lines was genius and it grabbed me immediately.
I don’t know what I can say without spoilers, but is full of twists, turns, chills, misdirection – just a fascinating blend of horror and psychological thriller and a small clue toward the end that could easily be missed, but gave me an idea as to what might be going on. The imagery is wonderfully vivid and if you’re on the squeamish side or scare easily, I wouldn’t recommend reading this alone or at night.
This is a debut novel for this author and I’ll be adding her to my watch list. Highly recommended. The Dead House is scheduled for publication September 15, 2015.
This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.