Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Review: The Dead Girls Club - Damien Angelica Walters

The Dead Girls Club
by Damien Angelica Walters
Published: December 10, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Thriller, Suspense

A supernatural thriller in the vein of A Head Full of Ghosts about two young girls, a scary story that becomes far too real, and the tragic--and terrifying--consequences that follow one of them into adulthood.

Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face...

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real--and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It's been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night--that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She's done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn't seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did...and they're determined to make Heather pay.

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5 Stars

The Dead Girls Club was only my most anticipated read of 2019 and I am so happy to say Damien Angelica Walters delivered a twisted thriller. Beginning thirty years in the future, Heather Cole is a successful child psychologist with a secret of her own. In 1991 Heather Cole and her three best friends were part of The Dead Girls Club, the four were intense fans of the creepy and macabre, at least until one of them, Becca, died. Heather has repressed many of the memories of the night Becca passed away, but she knows she was involved and now, after receiving the other half of a friendship necklace in the mail, she knows someone else knows too. Alternating between 1991 and present day, The Dead Girls Club follows Heather as she becomes the desperate, unreliable narrator I so wanted her to be.

You aren't tired of me recommending unreliable narrator books yet, right? I hope not, because this may be the last one of 2019, but I already have a long list ready for 2020. Heather Cole would never be my first pick for a child psychologist, in fact it's surprising that any of the children she is treating stay with her through the end of the novel. Her downward spiral is swift, while readers aren't revealed the complete events of the fateful night in 1991, we are made aware quite quickly just how afraid Heather is of the truth coming out. She is desperate, unhinged, and pulls away from everyone in her life. She believes she's holding it together, but we know from the flashbacks that the death of Becca is all that's on her mind.

What seems just a bit abnormal for four young girls soon takes a psychological twist. We're led to believe it's supernatural, that one of the stories they are hearing, shared by Becca, is real and coming true with them as the victims. While in reality it is four impressionable pre-teens making the horrifying events occur, causing their bonds to sever and the events to turn darker, scarier, fatal. I'll admit some of the events are not believable, as an adult reader it is easy to pick out the holes in the young girls' experience, but when in their shoes it all seems plausible. The flashback scenes are the most interesting, giving readers the mystery and thrill they're seeking when picking up a book like The Dead Girls Club. Even when Heather became so unreliable and even more unlikable I held on, wanting to know what, who, and why the girls' story club turned so deadly.

A gripping thriller, The Dead Girls Club satisfied my desire for a creepy read and I really liked the urban legend twist. The story was creative, the writing fantastic, and the character's were as hysterical and unreliable as I had hoped. While it isn't the horror that was promised, it was an entertaining, fast paced read that I would recommend to mystery and thriller fans.

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