Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: August 3rd, 2021
Synopsis: Courtney Gould’s thrilling debut, The Dead and the Dark, is about the things that lurk in dark corners, the parts of you that can’t remain hidden, and about finding home in places—and people—you didn’t expect.
Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.
Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves, that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness. (Goodreads)
The Dead and the Dark is a thoroughly creepy tale that more than lives up to its title. The first few pages immediately captured my attention and wouldn’t let go until I reached the end. This is both a character and plot driven novel, and both are equally well done. In addition to the supernatural and mystery elements is a thoughtful exploration of: homophobia, grief, and loneliness.
While much of the book is indeed very dark, there are some light-hearted moments centered around Logan and her witty snark. She’s the type of character that readers are automatically drawn to like moths to a flame. She hides her vulnerability and insecurity behind a veil of sarcasm that’s completely relatable. She’s intensely loyal to those she cares about, yet is also determined to do the right thing for her. Ashley initially comes off a little flatter, but soon you discover she has quite a bit of hidden depth. The pairing of her with Logan is perfect as they bring out the best in one another.
Equally interesting is the relationship between Logan’s two dads, Alejo and Brandon, and how they went from being strangers despite growing up in a tiny town, to falling in love and becoming ghost hunters. It’s also compelling how despite them leaving Snakebite, they’re still tied to it for both supernatural and real world reasons.
The mystery element was a tad predictable, but honestly, with all the other positives this book offers, including a fantastic conclusion, that’s a very minor complaint. Overall, The Dead and the Dark is an exciting debut from Courtney Gould that has me looking forward to seeing what her next book will be.
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