Title: The Dead Girls Club
Author: Damien Angelica Walters
Page Count: 282 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 ✨✨✨✨✨
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.
“Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face.”
I’ll admit something I’m not super proud of here: I was approved for an advanced copy of this book a few months ago, but somehow missed the email from NetGalley, and didn’t realize I had it until after it had released. This is one of my big reading regrets of the year, ’cause I know if I’d read it as soon as it was approved, I would have been able to spend months blabbing about how much I loved it by now! I guess I’ll just have to do some catching up with this review. 😉
There are a few things I absolutely adore when I’m reading horror, or thrillers: female central characters, some sort of coming-of-age or teenage tragedy aspect, and a chapter-to-chapter time jump. I got all three of these with Jeremy Hepler’s recent CRICKET HUNTERS, and I didn’t expect I’d be so lucky as to find another in a recent release so soon. I’m absolutely ecstatic to say that Walters completely nailed every single thing I love in my thrillers on the head.
I started this book intending to only read a little bit of it before doing something else around the house, and ended up spending the next couple of hours binge-reading the entire thing. I was absorbed from the very first page by Heather and Becca’s friendship & story, and I loved every second of reading this!
The friendships between young girls can oftentimes be very fickle, but strong friendships and bonds can be formed early on. With Heather and Becca, we see both sides of this – their close bond and ties, and also the strength of those ties being tested by whispered rumors and giggles with other girls. When you’re a little girl, everything can feel very life changing and monumental, especially in regards to friendships and social situations – and Walters conveys that in such a believable way that there were parts where I really, really related to the characters & their worries and troubles from my own memories of being that age.
Becca is every popular girl you wish you were as a teenager, but there’s a darker layer to her as well. Although I won’t say too much to avoid spoilers, but I will mention a warning to those sensitive to household / domestic abuse, as the story does touch a bit on that subject. The Red Lady spirit that Becca believes in becomes a character in the story herself, with the small little stories about her that Becca tells to her friends. I did have a bit of confusion while reading on what was real and what wasn’t, and I think the unreliable narrator aspect of both the girls in the past (under the duress of being teenagers & their situations), as well as of current-day Heather (who, I will admit, was a little annoying at times with a couple of the decisions she made), really kept me on the edge of my seat, not knowing what exactly was going to happen until a sort of ‘big reveal’ near the end of the book.
I did enjoy the ending, but I almost wish for something a little different, just so the outcome could be one that made me less sad. Again, I’d hate to ruin the review with spoilers, so you’re definitely going to have to read this one so we can discuss it – ending included!
Overall, I’m definitely glad I managed to squeeze this one in before 2019 ended, and will be on the look out for more by Walters in the future! If you have any suggestions for books in the same vein as this one, please let me know! I’d love to read them!
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