Book Review: The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters (ARC)

The Dead Girls Club

Author: Damien Angelica Walters

Publication Date: 10 December 2019

Genre: Adult Fiction – Horror/Thriller

Pages: 280

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

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 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.

Before I even start this review, I do want to make people aware that this story does deal with child abuse, so keep that in mind when reading this book.

The Dead Girls Club is a nostalgic, supernatural thriller and coming of age novel laced with a chilling atmosphere.

It’s 1991, and twelve year olds Heather and Becca are the best of friends. Together with Gia and Rachel, the girls form The Dead Girls Club. They would meet in the basement of a vacant house and swap ghost stories and urban legends. Becca, the leader of the gang, tells the girls of The Red Lady. A witch who was brutally murdered. The girls perform a seance to resurrect The Red Lady, but Heather is convinced that it’s all a hoax. Becca is desperate to convince Heather that The Red Lady is real, and one night when the two girls are alone, Becca ends up dead…and it’s Heather’s fault.

Heather hasn’t thought about her childhood best friend Becca ever since that frightful night 30 years ago. Heather is focused on her career as a child psychologist. One day, Heather receives an envelope that contains Becca’s half of their once best friends forever heart charm necklace. Who could have sent this necklace? Is someone trying to blackmail Heather? Unable to let it go, Heather becomes obsessed with tracking down Rachel and Gia as well as Becca’s mother in order to finally get some answers and closure.

Each chapter alternates between the present and the past. I gravitated more towards the chapters that focused on the past. Walters does a fantastic job of focusing on the dynamic of girl friendships all while capturing the nostalgia of the time period. These chapters were wrought with suspense and creepiness as we learned more information about The Red Lady. The chapters that focused on Heather’s current life still maintained the suspense, but Heather’s paranoia and stress were a lot. There were times that I just wanted to shake some sense into her.

Overall, this is a fast-paced thriller packed with twists and turns that definitely takes you on a wild ride through both the past and the present.

Thank you to Crooked Lane Books for the ARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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