by Billy O'Callaghan
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This best-selling debut by an award-winning writer is both an eerie contemporary ghost story and a dread-inducing psychological thriller. Maggie is a successful young artist who has had bad luck with men. Her last put her in the hospital and, after she’s healed physically, left her needing to get out of London to heal mentally and find a place of quiet that will restore her creative spirit. On the rugged west coast of Ireland, perched on a wild cliff side, she spies the shell of a cottage that dates back to Great Famine and decides to buy it. When work on the house is done, she invites her dealer to come for the weekend to celebrate along with a couple of women friends, one of whom will become his wife. On the boozy last night, the other friend pulls out an Ouija board. What sinister thing they summon, once invited, will never go.
Ireland is a country haunted by its past. In Billy O'Callaghan's hands, its terrible beauty becomes a force of inescapable horror that reaches far back in time, before the Famine, before Christianity, to a pagan place where nature and superstition are bound in an endless knot
I was looking for a twisty tale and stumbled upon The Dead House by Billy O’Callaghan. From its atmospheric cover to the mention of an Ouija Board I was all in. Grab a cup of cocoa and turn up the lights as this supernatural tale will send shivers down your spine.
First I must confess, Ouija Boards scare the shite out of me. You don’t mess with the supernatural and oh lordy did O’Callaghan share an atmospheric tale that sent a shiver down my spine without delivering gore as we skated on the edge of the supernatural realm.
The story is told from the pov of Michael Simmons as he relates events that occurred nine years previously. Michael is an art dealer, who is now married and has a little girl. He shares a time that still haunts him and his wife. It all revolves around one of his clients, Maggie and the small cottage she purchased on the rugged west coast of Ireland.
O’Callaghan’s prose and beautiful imagery pulled me in as much as Michael’s sharing of events that occurred. While I cannot say I was particularly fond of any of the characters, it is the events, landscape and supernatural elements that held me captive into the wee hours. The author builds suspense by sharing the history of this quiet little seaside area Maggie has settled in. Through the character’s unease, witness accounts and hints of something in the corner of your eye this tale will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.
The Dead House is a relatively short tale at just around two hundred and twenty-five pages and the ending is classic thriller 101. I certainly look forward to reading more from this author.
I have been vague on the details, as I feel details are best left for the reader to discover. The Dead House was an atmospheric debut, delivering a gripping psychological thriller that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.
[bctt tweet=”The Dead House was an atmospheric debut, delivering a gripping psychological thriller that will stay with you. #supernatural #debut #thriller” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Love the look of this one. There’s something deliciously spooky about rural Ireland!
Yes, it’s the perfect setting Stephanie.
I feel the same way about Ouija boards. *shudders* This one sounds good and creepy though. 🙂
It really was. I hope you grab it Brandee.
Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra
Ouija boards totally freak me out, but this book sounds so delightfully creepy that I may have to try it anyway. Wonderful review!
It is nice to know I am not the only one 🙂
I loved this book and like you loved the whole Ouija board. Yeah, I don’t touch them anymore since some weird crap happened to me as a kid. So that intrigued me about the book as well. I gave this one a 5 cause of the creepiness had me on edge. Great review!
Yay. I am so glad you loved this as well Mary. The creep factor was fantastic!
I’ve been eyeing this one and been curious about it, and this review just increased my curiosity!
I look forward to hearing what you think 🙂
This sounds really good. I’ve been in the mood suspense thrillers lately.
Yay. I hope you try it.
It is? I’ll have to check thanks for let me know.
I read this blurb once before-maybe Netgalley?- and passed as soon as I saw Ouiji board. I had an experience once that scared me and I’ve never forgot it. No, I don’t think it really was a ghost, but who knows? Glad it was a twisty scary tale for you though!
Now see I will never touch one again, but love reading about it. I love getting the shite scared out of me! Pst your URL in profile sign up is wrong.
Laurie @ Bark's Books
Oooo, I love freaky and atmospheric! This sounds great.
You will love this then!
Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
Sounds wonderfully creepy and I like how short it is! Sounds like a perfect slump buster. And yeah Ouija Boards scare me to death – why mess with that?
I am not alone. 🙂
You had me at dread inducing! LOL This sounds like my cuppa tea and I’m excited that its a debut too. Thanks for your review and sharing this book.
I hope you try it Laura. I would love to see what you think.
Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books
This sounds fantastic. I don’t think that I have read a lot of books that had a Ouija board in use so that is a big draw for me. Great review!
Hehe. Yeah, they freak me out but the minute I saw that I had to read it. I hope you grab this one Carole.
You convinced me.
This news delights me 🙂
In high school, my friends and I had a weekly session with a Ouija Board until it gave us a really good scare and that was the end of that!
Ooo once was enough for me. Yikes!
I love psychological thrillers.
The perfect read for when you have a good thunderstorm 🙂
I must confess to being a bit scared of the not being fond f everyone, I always want someone to like
Well, I wouldn’t really date any of them, but I would sit down for a cuppa.
oh atmospheric, suspenseful, good imagery AND and about a Ouija board AND that sends chills down my spine?
I SAY YES!
Happy reading Daniela!
Oh this sounds creepy, totally agree about the Ouija Board. I have to know more.
Glad I am not the only one who won’t mess with them.
I would have been curious too about the mention of the Ouija Boards. Haven’t read a book with one so well, many things possible!
Right, and the setting was fantastic.
A very cool sounding debut Kim and I think you said enough, well enough to make me want it! 🙂 Love the cover!
Haha. Thanks, Debbie.
Tyler H Jolley
Dude, Kimba, I’ve been in a reading slump for a minute because I refused to DNF a book by my favorite author. Deep down I know I need to throw in the towel. This novel really sounds interesting. I think I’m going to give it a try and hopefully it will pull me out of this lull.
Ooo I feel your pain when it comes to favorite authors I have trouble accepting its not for me and walking away.
is it a real ghost? ouija boards were my high school go to creep… but since I am raised in that kind of setting it does not spook me out as much as reading a well written ghost story. Honest~
There was evil, it was chilling.
oooh scary. those are the worst
Ouija Boards scare me too! Now this book sounds like my cup of coffee! Great review and I appreciate your being vague. I am putting this on my list.
You are welcome, the fewer deets the better with this type of story.
Wow, this sounds deliightfullly creepy. I have been looking for some great horror stories and this looks like a good one to add to mg list.
Happy reading Nadene!
Jenea’s Book Obsession
I just sat and wrote my review for this one last night. 🙂 I am sooo with you on the Ouija boards, I’ve never used one and certainly don’t plan to either. Lol.. This was super creepy and I am glad to see you enjoyed it too.
Yay, I am glad to hear you enjoyed it as well Jenea.
I love a good thriller, especially when it’s creepy like that. Ouija Boards are basically just board games to me, though. 😀
I had a creepy experience with one in grade school..so nope not touching one again.