Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
| For me this book was pretty incredible. It takes focus and an ability to not keep diving under the duvet every time something downright creepy occurs (sometimes I did well other times I eyed the novel from a place of safety somewhere full of light) - The Dead House is a multi-layered tale that can be interpreted in many different ways all the way through. As such its bound to divide opinion - for me it was brilliant in both concept and execution, I immersed myself in this one and came out the other side of it very disturbed and slightly tearful.
So "The Dead House" taken on one level is the tale of one girls descent into madness. As such it is emotionally resonant and incredibly moving. But this novel allows for many possibilities all of which are explored, often in the scariest way and there is the absolute hook and what makes it so addictive and clever.
Told in retrospect, many years after an event - through Kaitlyn's diary, "found footage" medical transcripts and various police interviews, the story of Carly Johnson begins to emerge one brutal step at a time. We first meet Kaitlyn when she tells us "I curse anyone who reads this book. Screw you. Happy Reading" - Right there I was hooked. Kaitlyn is our anchor here, for the most part it is her story. Sharing a body with her "sister" Carly who lives and breathes the day while Kaitlyn is entirely a child of the night, she is visceral and intriguing, sympathetic and violently alive. I loved her. Carly is seen entirely through the eyes of others, Kaitlyn included, the other half that creates the whole.
Speaking to mental illness in quite an innovative way by offering a sense of what Dissociative Identity Disorder might be like (from the authors note at the end it seems she has some experience of this) but also wrapping that up in a story that may (or may not) have a supernatural or other worldly element, allowing the reader to dissect and decide alongside the wider cast of the novel, made this an often brutal but always engaging story from the haunting beginning to the sob inducing conclusion.
The construct was fascinating, allowing as it did several opinions to emerge. I was especially taken by Dr Lansing, who actually I think got a bad rap sometimes, her attempts to help Carly (Kaitlyin) formed some of my most emotion inducing moments of this read - I often wanted to scream at her NO LISTEN TO WHAT SHE IS TELLING YOU. But of course science doesn't allow for anything other than logical explanations. This and many other themes are explored within the narrative and I loved every minute of it. The minutes I wasnt hiding under the duvet....
Overall a really really good story and absolutely great writing that absorbs you into Carly's (Kaitlyn's) world and holds you there aghast. I'm not sure what I made of the resolution but its one that will stay with me. For that reason its a highly recommended from me.