The Dead House | Book Review

Author : Dawn Kurtagich

Rating: 5/5 Stars


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.


First off, I chose to read this story because my name was used as one of the main characters which is super rare. Does anyone else do that? When you are super interested in a book because they use your name as one of the characters? No, Just me? OK, lets get on with this review now.

This story had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I have never read a story that was this unique and it will surely stay with me for quite a long time. It messed with my brain and left me speechless! I mean, if you`d asked me to retell the story, I wouldn`t have been able to. Just because I don`t know myself what really happened there. This book is a trickster, and we have a very unreliable main character.

Carly and I are closer than sisters. Closer than twins. We might as well be the same person, because we share the same body. We share one life, each getting part.
Carly gets the day.
I get the night.

For the longest time,  I was actually under the impression that this as a real story that had actually occurred at some point in history. That should prove to you how amazing this book was. The split personalities between the girls is an awesome idea. Not many authors could have pulled this off, but it was executed perfectly. One controls that night and one controls the day, never changing. A traumatic accident causes this reaction, which is the case in many circumstances.  The pages are decorated beautifully, each page representing a different person or a different time in their lives. This adds to the detail and the description of what is going on to better help you visualize how the characters feel.

You do not actually know who is the narrator of the journal until the very end of the book, which adds suspicion and makes you keep guessing throughout the novel. The words made me feel as thou I was in a psychiatric ward. I felt as crazy as the characters did.

This book will haunt you long after you finish reading it. If these types of YA thrillers interest, you, then this book is just what you need to invest into. Not to mention, but the hardcover version of this is just stunning (as pictured above). Like seriously, finding a different picture under the dust jacket is like finding an extra chicken nugget from McDonalds, MAGICAL! I feel as thou this technique is under-appreciated and more authors should do this with the hardcover versions of their books.

Read On Darlings!


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