Friday, February 28, 2020

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

Reviewed by Laura
            As I was reading this novel, I thought that I had figured it out before I was halfway through the book. I was quite proud of my detecting ability and nearly broke my arm patting myself on the back. I envisioned writing this review and asking for other readers to let me know at what point they had solved the mystery. Turns out, I was wrong all along. I was so absolutely, completely sure of my prowess that I nearly fell off the couch when I was proven wrong. So… obviously this is a book that will keep you guessing, which is always a plus in my opinion.
            The book starts out in present day as Heather receives a package containing an old necklace with the charm, Best Friends Forever. She still owns her half, so this could only belong to her childhood friend, Becca. The childhood friend she killed.
Heather and Becca were best friends and wore the necklaces constantly to prove it. They both had them on that fateful night, thirty years ago, when Becca died. They had been friends with two other girls that summer forming the Dead Girls Club. They all enjoyed Stephen King and other horror writers and were intrigued by anything they could find to read about actual serial killers. But then things got out of hand. Becca began to draw pictures and tell stories of The Red Lady. Who of us hasn’t participated in a séance or used an Ouija board at a sleepover when we were young? They were flirting with things beyond their control for the fun and excitement, but Becca became obsessed. She would steal a key to a house her realtor (drunken) mother was showing and they would meet there in the dark to hear her stories and enjoy the chills that ran down their spines. It was a tantalizing and forbidden thrill until Becca requested to perform a ceremony and The Red Lady came in force. The book never definitively states whether the entity was real or rather a product of group hysteria, but instead, leaves that decision up to the reader. Regardless of your choice, just be warned that this book may inspire nightmares of your own.
Things go from bad to worse for Becca as she becomes more and more entrenched with the idea of The Red Lady’s powers and her home situation deteriorates to unbearable proportions. She begs Heather to meet her for one more ritual and then they can go back to the way they were before, leaving The Red Lady behind for good. Only in the course of events, Becca ends up dead and Heather is haunted forever.
The story is told in flashbacks between that summer and present day. Heather finds herself falling into her own dark hole when it becomes evident, through increasing deliveries and incidents, that someone knows what she did that night. The number of people who could have known is small and getting smaller. Heather becomes increasingly unhinged as she draws closer to uncovering who knows her secret after all this time. This is a fast-paced thriller with many twists and turns and I highly recommend it. 

Note:  Christy also reviewed this book in our Monday blog post.  You can read her take on it here.

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