The Dead House
Three students: dead. Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace. Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.” Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.
Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it. Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary – and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.
The Dead House is an amazingly written and spectacularly interesting phycological horror story that was the hardest book to put down and the scariest to pick up again when I did have to put it down. Mostly set in 2004, it follows the fascinating story of Carly and Kaitlyn Johnson through diary entries, police interviews and transcripts of video footage.
Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of five 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. So who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?
The characters were well crafted, proving we all hold a little insanity in ourselves. Witchcraft also played a part in the story, and I love how it was an epistolary psychological thriller because it made the story move quickly. There was no shortage of plot twists, specifically near the end. It’s a book which will haunt you long after you’ve finished reading it. I want to read more books by this author because I want to see what psychological plot twists and turns she comes up with next.
About the book Author
Dawn Kurtagich is a writer of creepy, spooky and psychologically sinister YA fiction, where girls may descend into madness, boys may see monsters in men, and grown-ups may have something to hide. By the time she was eighteen, she had been to fifteen schools across two continents. The daughter of a British globe-trotter and single mother, she grew up all over the place, but her formative years were spent in Africa—on a mission, in the bush, in the city, and in the desert.
Title: The Dead House
Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Published Date: September 15, 2015
Genre: Fiction, Horror, Thriller
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Pages: 419 pages
Reviewed by: Sarah Hopkins
Our Rating: 4.2 /5
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