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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


10 thoughts on “The Dead House

  1. says:

    A GR friend recommended my re read of this book on audio and holy crow They were right There are a couple of different narrators and some sound effects Nothing too major running crumpling paperetc I immediately added the audio to my Audible wishlist Loved it😊I can't believe this is the author's first novel I'm in love with this book It's set up like a crime case The whole thing isn't like that seeing as how you have to get to know the characters that play out in this creepy book but it has images of video footage diaries police reports you name it The book is set up so cool looking You just have to flip through it to see what I mean So you have Carly and Kaitlyn and they are in and out of the Claydon Mental Institute because of their behavior and when it's decent they are allowed to attend Elmbridge High Now I'm not giving away any spoilers because if you buy the book it will say right on the inside that Kaitlyn is the alter ego of Carly ButWhat happens in this book goes way beyond any kind of alter ego Don't think you are going into another book with something like that going on NOOOOOOO this is creepy as hell You see Kait and Carly believe they are really two beings sisters They have friends that believe the same thing I wonder if they could be right? Read the book This whole world the author painted is freaky right down to the hoodoo of it all It reminds me of one of my young adult novels that got smacked with one of my paranormal ghost shows along with some horror movie with demons There is really nothing left to say but read the book if you like any of the little things I have mentioned I would love to go and see the what's left of the old burned school if it was real that isFin


  2. says:

    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel From Beginning to Bookend Everyone knows about the Johnson Incident people died and one person went missing who was never found Conspiracy theorists believe the culprit was Kaitlin Johnson Only problem is Kaitlin doesn't exist According to Dr Lansing she's just a product of trauma an alter ego created by Carly Johnson a girl suffering from dissociative identity disorder The Dead House is a collection of transcribed interviews videos emails witness testimonials and journal entries cataloging the events leading up to the Johnson Incident with special attention paid to Kaitlin's private journal Lansing can't tell me I don't really exist product of trauma and all that when my thoughts and feelings are as real as Carly'sI am real I exist They won't kill me send me awayThroughout the entire book Kaitlin remains both a sympathetic and complex character Her existence as well as her mental state is constantly called into question I'm the thing in the dark just like the Viking used to tell me I'm the creature coming from the basement the thing under the bed I have nothing to fear in the dark I am the dark This book offers some moments with serious spook factor It's thrilling fast paced dark and surprisingly morbid The author brings a delicate hand to her prose finding a balance between simplicity and lyrical interludes The windows gazed across the landscape each fringed by the crumbling slate roof like eyelids Even the console brackets had the sunken eroded texture of all of time The weather vane too stood rusted and old no longer a thing of pride but a creaking slice of metal warped into no definite shape by years of long corrosion The book's only weakness is its formatting While it's obvious what was intended with its use of note papers open journals and stationary some of the alignment is distracting Overlaying straight text atop an image of crumpled paper looks demonstrably fake The same goes for dropping straight text over a piece of paper that's significantly off kilter it doesn't look right and that moment of distraction pulls the reader out of the story Further the stock photos used as still shots of video footage were campy and not quite believable This is a tedious criticism an observation about the book that will likely bother only a few select readers The Dead House is a gripping psychological thriller that gets darker with every page and leads the reader down a path that begins with safe speculation and ends with horrifying truths


  3. says:

    45 an extremely unique book Nothing like I have read before This will stay with me for a long time


  4. says:

    This Book Is Pure MADNESS It messed with my brain and left me speechless I mean if you`d asked me to retell the story I wouldn`t have been able to Just because I don`t know myself what really happened there This book is a trickster and we have a very unreliable main character Seriously people it blew my mind I don`t even know what to think This is so messed up I have no idea what is true and what`s not If you`re a fan of mysteries then this story is for you Okay let`s startFirstly the story is told in a very unusual way We are provided by footages interviews and diary entries Don`t know about you guys but this made it interesting for me It also annoyed me a bit that the timeline of the book was very chaotic You could read the records from one year and then they were abruptly interrupted by records from the past years or the future It can mess with your head and it confused me even Pictures at the beginning of each footage were awesome and atmospheric I looooooved it keep it up It`s interesting and unconventionalGenerally speaking this is a story about a girl Or two The story is told from Kaitlyn`s behalf Or from Carly`s Honestly I have no idea D But the bottom line is this In one terrible day Carly Johnson's parents die She does not remember what happened and that brings her in a mental facility where she is diagnosed with DID Dissociative identity disorder – because she claims that she has a sister Kaitlyn and they share one body Doctors say it is all because of stress after the death of her parents But they do not know that Kaitlyn has always been with Carly «Carly and I pretend to be recovering from a sickness we don’t have But when no one will believe you you become the liar they think you are» Carly gets the day Kaitlyn has the night They see each other as sisters and communicate via notes The girls are completely different Carly is good demure and friendly Kaitlyn is cheeky fidget and paranoid Her behavior often can be called inadequate and she loves to harm herself Both girls are willing to get out of Claydon and flee to London where they will finally be free «Carly and I are closer than sisters Closer than twins We might as well be the same person because we share the same body But we are different You might say she’s my better half We share one life each getting partCarly gets the dayI get the night» But the girls are sent to school and everything would have been fine if not for Kaitlyn`s mental state She hears the Voice Aka Manah She does not know where it came from and to be honest it wasn`t like she was really worried about it Well phew some mysterious Voice that shouldn`t be here whispers some terrible things to you at night Who cares?And then Kaitlyn wakes up in the morning And Carly is gone Without a trace To regain her sister Kaitlyn must resort to voodoo magic and go to the Dead House Will she be able to maintain sanity when faced with such horrors?Nuh uh In my opinion there is nothing to maintain The girl is sick Sometimes you read a passage of the book and she is quite normal and for the next 50 pages you find yourself in the mind of a schizophrenic person I admit I like it she is completely unpredictable because she defies logic «I’ve looked at my armsSo maybeMaybe I am crazy broken Maybe I do need help fixing» I will omit some details but Kaitlyn always sees different hallucinations like dead girls aka The Ring and of course the Dead House or Madhouse as I prefer it Doctors say that she is sick her friends – that it's all voodoo magic and that there is a dark magician among the students Who is right? Does Kaitlyn suffer from the pills? Or because of magic? Or because of her own folly? Here are the questions you ask yourself throughout the book You are entangled in this story and at the end you just swim with the current not even trying to understand the plot As it`s said in the summery this story raises a whole lot questions than it answers and it really haunts you long after you've finished readingI could guess who was the bad guy but that wasn`t the most interesting storyline I was way interested in Kaitlyn and Carly`s story Unfortunately I can`t say that the author revealed their history We know almost nothing about them before the death of their parents as it left me with a couple of questions that have not received any responses It`s like the author decided to keep some intrigue and says come on readers use your own heads an think as you preferI don`t want to talk too much about the plot and the characters since this information is interconnected and can be spoilery so you will not find any detailed specifications in this review It`s all about admiration and bewildered cries But if you're looking for a book that will drive you crazy bingo here it is And yet if you are going to read it before sleep make sure you won`t have to get up out of bed because you might start to look for monsters in the dark corners Fans of Mara Dyer – you`ll love The Dead House Only this one is way creepy and crazy and the romance is almost nonexistent I was scared of dark after this shit Also I think fans of psychological thrillers like Gone Girl or Dangerous Girls will find this story fascinating I highly recommend you to read this book I`ve never read anything like that before Also if you have any questions after the end of the book and believe me you WILL feel free to write to me because I`d love to chat about it Hey GuysCheck out my interview with the amazing Dawn Kurtagich about her Debut Novel The Dead House


  5. says:

    Despite the fantastic premise this book is a complete and utter cluster fuck It's not just that there's a lot going on there isn't really but it seems like the goalposts are shifting every five seconds It's a story about two girls who share a body which may be a product of a paranormal incident or dissociative identity disorder There's their parents' mysterious death in a car crash several years earlier There's the haunted school they attend There's a shadowy figure which may be the girl's diary brought to life No I'm not kidding It comes across very cheesily Also this is apparently the second horror novel this year with this plot point Why? It never feels plausible when written down There's the mysterious fire that occurs there in which shethey disappear There's their best friend who is from a cult that lives on the Outer Hebrides and practices the most nonsensical under explained magic that I've ever read There's something suspicious going on at the mental institution where they lived There's a mysterious boy who I think is one girl's boyfriend but I couldn't really tell if he was their brother There's a forbidden romance with another boy that was written solely in lines that seem like they were rescued from a garbage bin marked WITTY BANTER There are demons Yes That really is some of the stuff that goes on in The Dead HouseI loved this book when I opened it up So creepy so innovative so intriguing The structure was super cool too However it's 440 pages and I would say it felt much longer partly because there seems to be little in the way of a coherent story The structure is very novel and fun but a fun structure can only take one novel so far without a plot to support it also a lot of the atmosphere seemed to dry up over that many pages compounded by how they were overloaded by a murky an obscure plot Every single 'twist' seemed to take us deeper in a dark dark world one that was mostly dark because no matter how far she took me neither I nor Dawn Kurtagich could find the light switch I will admit that I was seriously tempted to give this 3 stars due to the absolutely amazing plot twist in the middle I loved the writing of view spoilerKaitlyn's reaction to Carly's disappearance hide spoiler


  6. says:

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum let me say I had no idea before I got an ARC of this novel that it would be written in the epistolary style as a collection of mostly diary entries though it also includes interview transcripts descriptions of video footage emails and newspaper articles etc Not to mention the huge visual component I picked up The Dead House because I love horror and I’m also always on the lookout for good creepy YA but seriously nothing could have prepared me for the surprise I got when I opened up the bookIn a word it’s gorgeous It’s made to look like a compiled report drawing evidence from multiple sources detailing a disturbing and mysterious “incident” The book also makes liberal use of images different fonts and other visual embellishments to add even great realism to the story But before I could fall too deeply in love with the eye candy my cynical side immediately leaped into the picture with a reality check After all pretty pages are certainly all well and good but the real test of course is how well the story stands up in spite of thatWe open with a newspaper article dated February 4 2005 describing an inferno that ravaged a prestigious boarding school killing three teenagers and injuring twenty Next comes an introduction to the report revealing that two decades have passed since the fire now referred to as the “Johnson Incident” but new information has come to light prompting a reinvestigation of the events that led up to the tragedyOne student an orphan named Carly Johnson went missing during the incident but her body was not found among those recovered from the burned ruins To this day her whereabouts remain a mystery No one could deny though that Carly was a very disturbed girl as evidenced from her writings in a scorched diary discovered at the school By all accounts she struggled with Dissociative Identity Disorder writing in her diary not as Carly but as her alter “Kaitlyn” who only emerges after sunset But who exactly was Kaitlyn Johnson? Was she really just a mental construct of Carly’s mind or was she something ?All I have to say is DAMN this is one creepy book If you don’t like the epistolary style however I can’t imagine this book would do anything for you but I loved it and I thought it made this book an incredibly immersive experience I found The Dead House really hard to put down and ended up finishing it in a little than a day and it only took me that long because I made myself take a break a couple of times so I could savor it The format made it a very quick read but the story was also very addictive and fun in spite of myself I found myself totally sucked inWhat makes this one fascinating is also its main character a one hell of an unreliable narrator The book is an intimate look into the labyrinthine mind of Kaitlyn Johnson though the difficulty of separating her words into fact versus fiction is further compounded when faced with the question of whether or not she actually exists Kaitlyn believes she is real and that’s what matters in the end Her diary entries reveal a desperate soul wanting nothing to be believed that she is not just a symptom or a made up part of Carly’s mind In her state of mind she makes decisions that sometimes won’t make sense or may seem very extremeAll throughout the book though is a sense of ambiguity – which isn’t necessarily a negative especially when we’re talking about paranormal horror or psychological thrillers It’s eerie and unsettling precisely because you won’t get all the answers tied up neatly with a bow and served on a platter By design we are constantly kept guessing Are we looking at the results of an actual paranormal situation or the ravings of a mentally unstable teenager? The report is presented with all the pieces of evidence ordered by date the whole story being gradually revealed to the reader as each page moves us closer towards the day of the incident This a book best experienced firsthand so I hesitate to give much information about the plotDid I have my misgivings though? Well yes I thought the ending wrapped up way too quickly but this is in part due to the limitations of the format But there’s no denying that all the major reveals came hard and fast all in the last 30 pages or so There was also one “twist” that was painfully predictable the number of red herrings thrown at us notwithstanding Part of the problem was a romance that felt out of place among other relationships between KaitlynCarly and other characters that just didn’t add up I am also a little tired of YA books that portray doctors and especially mental healthcare professionals as incompetent insensitive or overbearing In this case poor Dr Lansing was all three which I felt was a rather inelegant way to paint her as a villain early on and drum up sympathy for KaitlynThese flaws were very minor though certainly not enough to take much away from the experience All told I had a really good time with The Dead House I confess I had my doubts when I first started this novel and even resolved to keep a level head while reading so that I wouldn’t be dazzled by the unique structure of the novel and the flashy visuals All the same I ended up devouring this book It’s undeniably entertaining and addictive which sets it apart from being just another gimmick or run of the mill YA horror


  7. says:

    You’ve surely heard this before but here it is again The Dead House is a very unusual sort of book narrative wise It is a skillfully woven web of diary entries video transcripts police interview transcripts e mails and instant messages newspaper clippings and other documents pertaining one horrible event known as the Johnson Incident The concept itself is a brilliant one wholly new and original While it starts with two souls in one body something we’ve certainly seen before what Kurtagich does with it hasn’t been done in YA and for the most part it’s mind blowingly goodThe story admittedly requires some suspension of disbelief especially when it comes to health care professionals and the decisions they made for one obviously ill girl I had a hard time believing that someone like CarlyKaitlyn would be allowed to attend school with almost no supervision The school itself was a bit odd in that its students had far too many liberties and not enough adults looking after them which isn’t how boarding schools usually functionThe narrative is both very clinical and very emotional and it is that contrast that allows us to really sink into it The format creates an illusion of objectivity but we feel Kaitlyn’s pain so strongly the entire time and we are unable to make clear headed judgments Kaitlyn’s diary entries are fairly brief and scattered coherent at first but less and less so as she declines into madness Whether it’s justified or not provoked or not is the question we ask ourselves the entire time but the decline itself is so skillfully and convincingly done Kurtagich’s prose is gorgeous and clever surprisingly vivid and even lyrical at times Her horror scenes reminded me of Kendare Blake in that they turned my stomach and made me feel such pity at the same time Nothing about The Dead House felt rushed or poorly composed and evoking certain emotions at precisely the right time seems to be one of Kurtagich’s strengths Every single detail is in its place which isn’t easy with such a complex non linear narrative The revelations however could have been paced a lot better There came a time when we needed something to hold onto something substantial than the ramblings of a disturbed girl The book itself is fairly long but everything we learn comes at the very last pages While every detail was important and deliciously creepy the book would have been better if a few truths were revealed just a bit earlierRead this with your lights on And find something cheery and uplifting to read right after because you'll need it But all the effort and the comfort food you'll undoubtedly eat will be worth it The Dead House may be flawed but it's a must read


  8. says:

    Disclaimer this wasn't a scary book When we say 'scary' that's something I would give to the likes of Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics and Girl from the Well The Suffering by Rin Chupeco This wasn't even a mind fuck of a book a la Dangerous GirlsHowever that doesn't mean my mind didn't reel from it Even though this didn't have the quiet or the jumpy horror I am well fond of how this book delivered a kickass psychological paranormal thriller made me shiver in my boots1 Unreliable narrator? Check2 A book majorly in a dairy format showing us the thought processes of our heroine therefore giving us an intense sneak peek of the insanity of the situation? Check3 Notes transcription of videos medical reports letting us also see other sides of the story that may or may not be challenging the authenticity of the narrator's end of events? Double check This is what made this book amazing to me the fact that we are seeing one side of the story from one person and at the same time we get to see another side of the story from other sources and how they pretty collide in our own minds Yes in the grander scheme of things the thriller aspect here was kind of predictable but at the same time the journey to getting there was incredible This is the kind of book that allows the reader to interpret the flow of events the form their own conclusions based on what they have read and what evidences have been presented It never confirms or denies anything it's simply a cast of characters talking about their own side of a particularly messy situationAnd that my friends is its beauty Because even though it is one a little predictable and two not so scary in a DEMON GHOSTS MURDERER ON THE LOOSE kind of way how we were able to get the story made it exciting and thrilling It would make you wonder who is telling the truth is it the girl and her friends and the doctor is just blinded by her own bias? Or is the doctor and her team of specialists and our friends are simply stuck in their own out of this world delusion?How about you read this book my friends and tell me what you think?


  9. says:

    If you’re thinking about reading this book go do it This is about as close to a perfect horror novel as it gets It reads like a police investigation into a series of unsolved murders and unfolds through journal entries descriptions of video footage and taped interviews with witnesses The most interesting parts to me were the journal entries Most of these were written by the crime suspect Kaitlyn Johnson who we learn is the “alter” of Carly Johnson They’re a split personality – two distinct personas occupying the same body They're each aware of the other and treat each other like sisters leaving little notes for the other to read each day when they awakenKaitlyn is the “darker” mischievous and troublesome half who only comes out at night while Carly is the better behaved half who occupies the daytime Kaitlyn is such a fun compelling and well developed character that it keeps you turning pages to see what she’ll do or say nextOkay so far we have a crime murder mystery with what appears at first to be mental health issues but then enters the supernatural element and that turns everything on its headThe title can be misleading – this isn’t a haunted house tale the “Dead House” is part of a recurring vision nightmare Kaitlyn experiencesThis is the second novel I’ve read by this author and I’m declaring myself a fan


  10. says:

    In the end we must decide for ourselves what we believe Goosebumps and shivers The most engaging and scary book I've read this year I honestly don't know what was real and what was not I don't know which side to believe It was the definition of insanity full review postedThe dead house is not my first book by the author Dawn Kurtagich I already read And the Trees Crept in and let me just say that it was not a memorable reading experience so I was hesitant about this one what can I say that’s me ever the skeptic but I didn’t need to worry at because this book was an exceptional read that took me by storm and left me in doubt whether maybe I harshly judged her other book or not I’m seriously considering rereading And the Trees Crept in so I could see for myself if I still feel the same or whether I just changed my tastes The Dead House was that good for meThe story centers on Carly a seventeen years old girl who is being treated in Claydon mental hospital for dissociative identity disorder that was triggered by the death of her parents in an accident Now Kaitlyn is Carly alter ego who shows up only at night while Carly has only the day Carly doesn’t believe she is sick she genuinely believes that she and Cary are sisters who are sharing the same body Things are already pretty complicated with her but everything goes to hell when she goes back to her prestigious high school and meets some mysterious students who also go there There are places Abandoned places Forgotten places These are the places I like to be The book starts by stating that there was a tragic fire in the school that ended with three people dead two missing and many others injured and now twenty years later the investigation is open again because a diary has been found that narrates the things that happened and that ultimately lead to that accident So the story is basically a collection of Kaitlyn’s diary entries and some video footage that was filmed by Nadia Carly’s friend and some witness testimonies from some friends and the doctor who treated Carly twenty years ago Some people say that night bloomsBut night descends self consciouslyNight cuts slowly The way the story was narrated felt real and really creepy for me and it gave those chills that I don’t get so easily with books I mean those pictures that were included in the book are still haunting me now The story as a whole was terrifying dark and very twisted It kept taking places I did not want to go an dit kept changing direction Every time I feel like I just get the handle of things the story will do sole bold move and I’ll be left speechlessAnd I loved how the story combines mental illness with that entire witchcraft thing and the demonic possessions and all that voodoo and dark magic It was done brilliantly and made me question a lot of things Sometimes I couldn’t tell what was real and what was not I kept changing my mind and I kept thinking about it from different angles and right now I don’t know what I’m sure about You see the story is multifaceted and it asks from you to be open minded and to judge so quickly but it also never gives you a straight answer At the end it’s on you whether you believe or not I love those stories where you can interpret in different ways and probably be right every single time and dead house is definitely one of those stories Yesternight upon the stairI met a girl who wasn’t thereShe wasn’t there again todayI wish I wish she’d Carly And even though the story is a horror story it was tragic at times and it affected me so much Of course I was so scared all the time I mean I couldn’t sleep last night after I finished it not even for a minute and when I have to go drink some water I kept turning all the lights on I was out of my mind terrified from the dark But it was not just that I also felt sorry for those who were just victims at the end even when all they wanted is to help a friend Nadia scarified a lot of herself to try and save someone she loved and ended up losing it all The Viking character was intriguing and fascinating and it did not deserve that ending It was tragic like I said I’m still thinking about it till now trying to figure out if there was ever a way for things to go in a complete different direction I’m truly that affected by it Anyway I can’t recommend this book enough If you’re going to read only one horror book this year let be the dead house it is worth the nightmares I’m sure