The Dead and the Dark – Courtney Gould

The Dead and the Dark

The Dead and the Dark

Summary

Lauren's dads are TV ghosthunters. But when they go back to the small town they were born and met in, they're met with suspicion and disdain, and Lauren feels out of place. Even when she makes an alliance with the local rich girl, something just feels wrong about the place. Especially as teens start to die.

Review

Oddly, the weakest thing about Courtney Gould’s horror novel is the horror itself. It appears mostly in occasional brief interludes that I found a bit muddled (as the author works to maintain mystery) and underdeveloped (it’s never really clear why the Dark should have some of the powers it does). The bulk of the story, though – the personal relationships – are excellent.

There are a few moments of heavy-handedness – the story takes place in a rural Oregon town that is homophobic, a fact never far from the surface – but largely, the story of two teen girls and their developing friendship is both deft and natural. The characters are engaging and credible, the prose smooth and evocative, the tone and pace a good fit to the story. I read this quickly and with interest, always ready to pick it up, curious about what happened next.

There are some weak points: some of the character transformations are a bit on the simple side, and I’m not sold on the packaging – the title and art lean toward generic – but the core of the story worked really well. A promising debut from an interesting author, though I do somewhat dread the possibility of a series of books featuring Logan and Ashley encountering more and more supernatural problems.

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