Sep 24, 2015

Review--The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

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 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.

My initial reaction after finishing Dawn Kurtagich’s debut, The Dead House, was…that was bizarre! This book was so unique from beginning to end that I am left shocked and tongue tied to explain my feelings and reactions! But I shall do my best!

The Dead House tells the story of what happened to Carly Johnson and her sister, Kaitlin. First off, you must know that Carly and Kaitlin share the same body. They are two souls in one body where Carly gets to “live” in the day and Kaitlin “lives” in the night. It’s always been this way. We learn their story primarily through journal entries and other little notes that they pass to each other. But there are also other accounts to read through, like video recordings, taped interview transcripts, notes from their doctor, and other little newspaper clippings. It was by far, the most unique book I’ve ever read.

What was quite relieving to see was that the notes and such are arranged in chronological order for the most part! That being said, I do advise you to pay attention to the black tabs above the pages. As most of them will countdown to a major event that happens at the end, but you will notice there are some transcripts of interviews and such that happen AFTER the event! So while not in complete order of events, it’s still arranged in a way where you can follow all the BEFORE clips and pieces fairly easily.

The story itself was pretty weird too. And I’m all about the weird! It’s hard to get into what the plot was about without getting close to spoilers and such, but the general idea is that something strange is happening with Carly and Kaitlin. There’s possible paranormal activity, but what with the notes coming in from their doctor, you almost wonder what’s real and what’s not. It’s a book that really spins your head around.

At the same time though, it’s not overly confusing theories to grasp. In an odd way, you could compare it to LOST in some aspects. Just that overall bizarreness and oddity that that show was. One I have yet to actually finish myself. I think I stopped watching when there were 2 seasons to go. Time traveling just made that show even more confusing. But somewhere in the middle of all that, you were able to grasp what you were watching, though trying to explain to someone who has never seen it, is near impossible. And that’s pretty much what I can say about this book. You understand and follow along as you’re reading, but to describe things to “outsiders”, well, that part might be a little difficult. At least I am finding it to be so.

What you need to know that basically this book was awesome! There were some creepy moments, lots of them. And the most creepiest part of it all, is not knowing which parts are real and which ones are fake. And that definitely says something about a fictional book! LOL!

I definitely think you could throw the genre, psychological thriller along with paranormal read when categorizing this one! Because this seriously was one twisted read, in the most enjoyable of ways! If you’re ready to take on one of the most thrilling, bizarre and downright, creepiest reads of the year…then get thee to a bookstore asap! The Dead House is a read that will chill you to your core, and craving for more!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars



  1. Great review Jessica! I've heard loads of great things about this one. I'm really trying not to buy any new books until I at least halve my tbr pile though...who am I kidding, I am buying this book!

  2. I think this book would be fantastic to read. I love the sound of the aesthetic of the final copy which I'm sure you won't find if you're reading an arc.

  3. I'm so glad you liked this one. I agree, totally bizarre but amazing. It was an experience. Great review!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

  4. So this one sounds intriguing from your review. I didn't get to the end of Lost either. I like the idea of one living during day and one at night.

    I am intrigued.


  5. this is a very twisted read and yes at the end i sat there for a moment debating over what I just read. The book leaves it open... paranormal or not. It was a great read though.


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