Primary Genre(s): Horror, Thriller, Fiction
Published: 10 December 2019 by Crooked Lane Books
Page count: 583 (according to Goodreads, Amazon lists it as 282)
My Format: free eARC via NetGalley
Pacing: Decent, drags from time to time
Ending: Okay, a bit frustrating
Would I recommend it: Probably not
Commission Link: Buy The Dead Girls Club
My rating: ★★☆☆☆
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.
I was super excited to read this book and I was even more excited when I received the ARC from NetGalley! I was looking forward to what I hoped and expected would be a 5-star read! That, however, didn’t end up being the case. Here are my pros and cons for The Dead Girls Club:
- This is a weird pro, but I was surprised and impressed with the description of smells in this book. From the smells of dirty feet, sweaty armpits and unbrushed teeth to the aroma of a hundred wet pennies and sour sheets and everything in between. I thought the emphasis on smells was unique and I don’t remember reading anything recently with such an emphasis. It really helped describe the atmosphere.
- There were some interesting revelations at the very end of the book that I did not anticipate.
- I was intrigued about finding out who was tormenting Heather with the necklace and other items. Heather’s reactions, clearly unstable at times, were unsettling. However… (see Con #3).
- I liked the Then and Now aspect of the story, although the Now parts got a tad tedious.
- The pacing of the novel was pretty good.
- Introducing new characters in the last 10% of the book to resolve a plot point is one of my biggest pet peeves in thriller/horror novels. Just don’t do it.
- I’m sorry, but I just can’t buy that Heather would kill her friend for any reason (not a spoiler, the synopsis tells you she killed her). Heather simply wasn’t written as the kind of person that would do something like that, at least not as a child. Heather clearly had issues when she was older; however, I presumed that was because of what she did to her friend, not a continuance of some pre-murder mental illness.
- I felt like adult Heather’s reactions to some of things that were happening were a bit overwritten. She’s a psychologist for heaven’s sake. Shouldn’t she, of all people, understand how to control her own emotions/reactions/actions? At least a little bit?
- The “Red Lady” wasn’t scary… at least not to me. Plus, this book is hyped as a supernatural thriller. Did I miss the supernatural aspect? I’ll concede to psychological thriller because these girls clearly had/have issues, but supernatural? No.
- I didn’t really like any of the characters… none of them.
- I think the novel was a bit overlong.
- I think the synopsis gives away too much of the plot. Makes the ending just a tad anticlimactic.
This book had a ton of potential that was never realized. The premise was intriguing and the story started off relatively well, but then it kind of went off the rails in my opinion. Also, I don’t believe this book will be very memorable. I finished this novel 4 days before I wrote this review and I struggled to even remember the story. Thank goodness I keep notes on books I intend to review!
Unfortunately, this book wasn’t thrilling or supernatural. I love thrillers and horror novels, but this particular book just wasn’t my cup of tea. However, if you are interested in the story, I encourage you to read it and form your own opinion. There are a lot of people out there that loved this book… sadly I’m not one of them.
Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Dead Girls Club. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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(image from Goodreads)