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.The Dead House was an atmospheric debut, delivering a gripping psychological thriller that will stay with you. #supernatural #debut #thriller Click To Tweet