Book Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

cover for the dead house by dawn kurtagich
© Little, Brown Young Publishers, 2015.


Debut author Dawn Kurtagich is dead on in this terrifying psychological thriller! 

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. 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.

Via Goodreads


I definitely have a new favorite author. After completing The Dead House, Dawn Kurtagich’s debut novel, I feel the need to reiterate the claim I made after reading And the Trees Crept In. Kurtagich is by far a wonderful result of randomly choosing audio books through overdrive. Like the other book, The Dead House also features stellar narration, complete with convincing sound effects. Still, I prefer And the Trees Crept In.

In this story, the focus is heavily on mental illness. More specifically, dissociative identity disorder – formerly known as multiple personality disorder. Personally, I suffer from borderline personality disorder and it’s clear in these pages that Kurtagich has done her research on mental illnesses. She pulls off the feeling of stigmatization perfectly and recreates a feeling of helplessness for the main character, Kaitlyn, almost flawlessly.

The plot is a bit more super natural than that, and throughout these pages it’s easier and easier to care for Kaitlyn Johnson. Though it advances slowly, I did not feel there was anything superfluous to the plot. Like Kurtagich’s second book, this one easily falls into my favorites and I still look forward to more from her.


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