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Review: The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

The Dead Girls Club

Damien Angelica Walters

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…more.

My Rating:

Bram Stoker nominee Damien Angelica Walters delivers a haunting coming of age tale in The Dead Girls Club. The novel plays one of my more favorite cards, with a ‘Then’ and a ‘Now’ chapter, each one following after the other. This tends to work miracles in pace of reading, because often times, you just want to get back to each storyline. The Dead Girls Club definitely keeps your interest piqued. In the ‘Then’ sections we follow a club of four middle school aged girls who like to talk about dead girls, serial killers, murders and the like.

It’s a strange fascination to be sure, but one that is believable. I found myself nodding to many of the issues they talked about, because it’s not just all about dead things. With the topics of conversation flowing smoothly and as discombobulated as any young pre-teen girls thoughts would be, the focus of the novel is mostly on best-friends Heather and Becca. It’s clear Heather has the home life advantage; it’s stable and loving, while Becca’s is the opposite with neglect and even abuse. When Becca starts telling thee story about The Red Lady, it leads to an event, ending club meetings and friendships.

Fast-forward thirty years, and Heather is suddenly haunted by the past. She’s a bit unreliable and makes some mistakes that are a little cliché, but there are also moments when her actions do make sense. It’s easy to empathize with the idea that she would want to hide the terror of her past, and in doing so she would have had to build up a wall to hide that secret. But with that, as is always the lesson, walls can tumble, creating more lies or unearthing the need to build more lies and soon nothing can be kept straight over what is fact and fiction.

As the penultimate ending built, I did find myself awaiting an anti-climatic conclusion. I didn’t like the ending. It felt rushed and also a bit unrealistic, and the clues became less and less hidden and more blatantly obvious, it simply lacked the depth the rest of the novel up to that point had held on to. The Dead Girls Club was a fun read and I’d still recommend it to those who like thrillers with horror elements and a touch of mystery.

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