There’s always that one kid in every neighborhood who tells the good scary stories. Growing up, that kid in was my sister. We lived on a court and every single day we were outside playing with all the kids that lived on that court–whether we liked them or not. We were bound together. This is something my kids just don’t get.
And when we got bored, my sister would tell us a story. Sometimes it was about the ghost that haunted the house with the giant weeping willow tree we all used to climb. Or the red man who lived beneath the drainage grates where the backyards would meet. He would wait there, patiently, for his next victim who he would pull down into the sewers to live with him.
When we went on vacation to Galena, we stayed with a charming old couple who rented their upstairs to tourist. She had a quilting room and he spent most of the day in his lazy boy watching golf. But later that night, my sister told me a story about how they were murderers who stalked the children who stayed with them.
Reading The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters, was almost nostalgic for me. Because I knew the girls growing up who would talk about dead girls and make up stories about boogeymen and women that no one could possibly escape.
From the Publisher:
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.
Heather is an interesting character. She’s a married, child psychologist who refuses, based on her traumatic childhood, to have children herself. She seems to have a supportive husband and good marriage, when things start to happen. And she starts to lose her mind.
I got the feeling that even though she seemed balanced and fine as an adult, that it was all being held together by paperclips and rubberbands. We know at the beginning of the book that she legit killed her best friend. And that she didn’t get caught. And that she has kept this secret her whole life. We don’t know how she did it or why, but seriously, no matter what, that is going to mess someone up for life. Unless they are a complete psycho.
So is she a psycho or a complete mental case? Walters does a great job switching between Heather’s childhood and the present day, slowing revealing the story that led to the even that changed Heather’s life forever. As the reader I found myself questioning what was real and what was mental illness.
I really don’t want to reveal too much of the plot here. But if you liked Stand By Me, or IT, or just plain have nostalgia for the days when we would tell scary stories around a campfire–or a well in the backyard, check this one out.
Special thanks to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one releases on December 10. Get your copy!