The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich


Welcome to the Dead House.

Three students: dead.

Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.”

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary – and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Five Stars – A brilliant and fascinating tale of horror

That was brilliant, just brilliant. As this was her debut novel, I can’t wait to see what else Dawn Kurtagich has in store for us.

She weaves together all of these different aspects of the storyline perfectly and what I loved about this formatting is that it makes the story feel that much more real. If it didn’t say it was a work of fiction, I honestly would’ve thought it was a true story. Although diary entries are the main way the book moves forward, the video footage transcripts, the police interviews, the therapy sessions, the newspaper clippings, and the internet messages all combine beautifully to help the story unfold.

We know from the book synopsis that a tragic fire occurred, taking the lives of a few people, but I never imagined it would unfold in this way.

The narrative starts out 155 days before the incident and we learn very early on that the main suspect, Kaitlyn Johnson, whose diary we follow throughout the storyline, has DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder. You may know this more familiarly by its former term, Multiple Personality Disorder.

As the story progresses we learn many more things about Kaitlyn, how she’s the alter ego of Carly, how they switch off between night and day, controlling their singular body, and how they lost their parents and have ended up in a mental hospital. But things take a turn down a much more sinister path when Carly disappears and Kaitlyn takes full control.

Now, as we get closer and closer to the day of the fire, we’re thrust into the chilling mystery of what really happened. And we witness first hand the horrific events leading up to that terrible tragedy.

The Dead House is a brilliant and fascinating tale of horror that will rope you in and keep you guessing. Not only will you become entangled in this chilling mystery, but you’ll find yourself, like I did, gasping in shock, shivering with goosebumps, and picking up on every little sound in the darkness.

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