Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: December 10th, 2019
Synopsis: A supernatural thriller in the vein of “A Head Full of Ghosts” about two young girls, a scary story that becomes all 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 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 a Heather pay.
There were two things about The Dead Girls Club that initially caught my attention. First, there’s that gorgeous cover. Second, there’s the comparison to Paul Tremblay’s mind-bending A Head Full of Ghosts. Now that I’ve finished I can say I still love the cover, and I think the story is decent, however it has me wishing yet again that publishers would stop comparing upcoming books to previous bestsellers, and simply let them stand on their own merits.
This is a story told in two different time periods: the present, and the early 1990s. I found myself liking the tween Heather much more than the adult one. I’m all for unreliable characters who keep you guessing, but Heather’s actions, both professionally and in her personal life, did nothing to make me feel sympathetic to her plight. The two characters I felt for the most were her husband and best friend who were very supportive, and gave her increasingly unhinged behavior wide latitude.
What saved this story for me were the chapters set in the past, and which detailed the close friendship between Heather and Becca, as well as its slow fragmentation. When it’s finally revealed what happened the night of Becca’s death, I was empathetic toward both girls, although I don’t think their actions were entirely believable.
The final few chapters contain a few surprises, and there’s an awesome fight scene between Heather and her tormentor. The ending has left me a little conflicted, and two days after I finished, I’m still not sure whether I liked it or not. But on the other hand, the fact that I’m still thinking about it is a plus.
For me, The Dead Girls Club wasn’t perfect, but it was a quick read that I easily finished in two sittings. The actual mystery behind Becca’s death kept me guessing, and even when the adult Heather was annoying the heck out of me, there was no way I was not finishing the book until I knew what happened. I’d recommend this to readers who enjoy twisty mysteries with unreliable main characters. In particular, I think fans of authors like Gillian French, Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware will enjoy this.