I received this book for free from BEA 15 in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
on September 15th, 2015
Genres: Horror, Thriller
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.
I feel like I need to start this review off with a warning. A warning to people who scare easily. Who check under their bed before climbing in, Who lock their closet doors before turning off the lights. Who hear the smallest sound and immediately grab a bat or pull the covers over their head. To you easily scared people, my people, DO NOT DO IT!
Ok that was a “little” dramatic, even for me, but seriously! Proceed with caution!! I’ve had some friends read it and not get creeped out at all. Then you have me. Someone who began reading outside on my beautiful balcony, on a sunny 80 degree day and was instantly terrified. Terrified of the voice, the layout, the possibility that what was happening was real and that I was a witness somehow. Kurtagich crafted this story, this event in a way that left all the senses involved and then, through publishing genius, wrapped this twisted story into a multimedia style book! Pictures, “burned” pages, video stills, various handwritings! There were so many different styles in The Dead House but somehow instead of being overwhelmed and “meh” about it you couldn’t help but fell like you were part of the story. A fly on the wall if you will.
By bringing so many different pieces of “evidence” to the case/story you were forced to see it from all sides.
From sweet sun loving Carly’s side. A girl who, for whatever reason only “lived” during the day. Who never slept in the traditional sense but who dreamed of a life where she was free to be herself. Free to love Kaitlyn. Free to just be.
To Kaitlyn, who had a heart of gold but was “troubled”. Kaitlyn’s voice is primary during the story and honestly I felt she had some serious “daddy/mommy” issues. What with all the smoking/drinking/partying she used to do, but she was so much more than that. She loved Carly and Jamie fiercely and she would do whatever it took to keep Carly safe. She put her life and the lives of many others on the line to save Carly and when it came down to it she would have gladly disappeared forever to ensure Carly’s safety.
To Detective Chief Inspector Floyd Homes, with his narrow-minded thoughts. The book is set up sort of like a retelling, and Detective Homes is the person listening. The person sitting there waiting for things not to add up. Who doesn’t believe anything that is happening but is being told every single detail all the same. If I’m honest I’ll say I didn’t like Homes. Not really. He was narrow-minded and ridiculous. He was the person you see in the movies who doesn’t believe so hard that when the killer finally creeps up behind him and slices his head clean off you’re relieved. Happy that you don’t have to listen to this idiot who ignores the facts.
To Dr. Lansing who could have done more. She felt she did everything she could to help Kaitlyn/ Carly. Every psychological trick in the book! From drugs, sedation and even therapy. In Lansing’s mind she did everything a good psychologist would have and while I’m not a doctor (I can barely get bandaids on right!) I think she missed the biggest thing she could have done. Believed. Believed Kaitlyn who she said she and Carly were one. Believed Kaitlyn/ Carly when they spoke of the voice, of the strangeness.
To Naida who just wanted to help her friend and was persecuted for that. I honestly was leery of Naida at first. With all her Mala know how and after hours rituals. It made sense, in a creepy book, to fear the unknown. I can’t say much about Naida without spoilers but time tells all.
This isn’t to say The Dead House is in multiple point of views….exactly. In fact. It’s mostly Kaitlyn’s point of view sprinkled with pieces, videos, sticky notes, diary entries and interviews from everyone else. And every time you think you have something figured out The Dead House changes and the hallway you were running down a moment ago has changed completely.
This book was unlike anything I’ve ever read. Not just the way it was written or put together but the storyline in general was so different and creepy that I can easily see myself rereading it and still being equally creeped out. Kurtagich has created a story so enwrapping that I didn’t even realize I was completely attached until the book ended.