Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

The Dead House
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’?

I was pretty confused throughout this book, and not in a good way. I really like books that try to use original writing devices but for me this one just didn't work at all. It seemed disjointed, not in the way intended, and it dragged on for too long before things started happening.

The characters never seemed to really work for me, none of the girl characters: Carly, Kaitlyn, Naida really worked for me and the male characters were flat and boring and utterly forgettable. For a long book like this which really needed the development of the characters it fell really flat and that was one of the main problems that I had.

Really, I just didn't connect with this book. It was probably a good idea, but it felt contrived and complicated and flat and didn;t have any sort of dynamic that kept me interested.

Overall Rating: E

Book released 6th August by Orion Children's Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

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