Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review As young girls on the brink of adolescence, Heather and her friends bond over their mutual obsession with serial killers and the urban legend known as The Red Lady The four girls, who now call themselves The Dead Girls Club , share stories and try and summon The Red Lady , a vengeful spirit who was, supposedly, brutally murdered centuries before Heather knows that these are just stories, but her best friend Becca soon becomes obsessed, convinced the stories are real and that The Red Lady has made contact with her Becca sets out to prove that the Red Lady is real and ends up dead Years later, Heather is a child psychologist, helping troubled children overcome their demons When she starts to receive cryptic messages in the mail she initially brushes it off But when the messages become macabre, and she starts being followed, Heather begins to wonder if somehow, somewhere, there is someone who knows Heather s secret that Becca is dead because of her Damien Angelica Walters has several award winning short stories under her belt, stories acclaimed for being weird and gothic The Dead Girls Club is set to be released in December 2019 The Dead Girls Club is formed as a result of four close friends who share an obsession and meet to perform s ances and tell stories As a pre adolescent girl, I was always forming clubs and secret groups with my friends, desperate to have something we could share with just us, away from the outside worldtoo bad I didn t have friends obsessed with serial killers I would ve been ALL OVER a Dead Girls Club of my ownThat part of the novel is relatable and charming, as the friendships are challenged by angst ridden problems and hormones, typical of any female group of outsiders The story alternates between THEN and NOW, each chapter narrated by Heather as a young girl and as an adult The secrets of the novel are slowly revealed, with just enough suspense in each chapter to keep you hooked When the ending is revealed, and the truth comes out, I was slightly disappointed The twist has been done before, in movies and books both, and it was almost unbelievable and far fetched That being said, there was a definitive ending which provided answers to questions that form throughout the novel I questioned the behaviours and actions of Adult Heather a few times, as she seemed to sabotage her adult life and relationships than she needed to, all to hide a childhood secret The Dead Girls Club is definitely unique and creative, with relatable characters Walters definitely has a thing for the macabrewhich I appreciate, of courseand this novel is well written, compete with a spooky abandoned house and a mysterious could be true urban legend Definitely worth checking out for those who are looking for a nostalgic, gothic read. Is there any crueler lie we tell kids Regardless of what happens, of how deep the scars might run, we say they ll be okay and they believe it They trust us But what else are we supposed to say Hey, kid, childhood is a bitch and she leaves marksI may have done a monstrous thing, but I m not a monster, I m not I believed that once I wish I could believe it now Dr Heather Cole has a pretty nice life, a thriving practice, offering psychological therapy to kids under 18, a beautiful river front home, and a studly carpenter of a husband who runs his own business But one day she receives an envelope with one half of a matched pair of necklaces, the half that had belonged to her friend Becca, her bff back when they were twelve, the bff whose disappearance had never been solved, the bff she had killed Uh oh.Damien Angelica Walters image from her site credit Justin AshlyeRebecca Lillian Thomas, Becca, had nearly white hair and blue eyes Nicknamed Ghost Girl by her peers, she had a home life that was less than stellar, featuring a mom who had issues with alcohol and self control Becca had the bruises to show for it She had an invisible friend and a particular fixation on someone, or something, called The Red Lady She was into true crime stories, serial killer stuff Her bff was Heather, a fan of horror and science fiction Becca s mother worked in real estate, which allowed Becca surreptitious access to an empty for sale house nearby This is where Becca chilled her friends, Heather and two of the Dead Girls Club, with tales of THE RED LADY, a local legend involving someone who was done dirt by torch and pitchfork sorts and vowed vengeance Becca seemed pretty convinced that she was real, and that she spoke to her Soooo, was Becca in need of anti psychotic meds or was there any reality to her tales And how gullible were her pals Girls of that tender age are in a nether world between believing in fairy tales and knowing how to tell the difference between the real and the imaginary Maybe they have a foot in both realms Lean a bit this way, or turn back the other and you are in or out, with considerable consequences What if they saw, heard, and felt things that suggested something supernatural Can those things be explained materially We know early on that this involvement ends badly How did that come to be Who was responsible The Dead Girls Club flips back and forth between today and the time of the killing, about 25 30 years give or take Becca s mother, Lauren, was convicted of killing her, although that seems a bit suspect, given that Becca s body was never found Nevertheless, Lauren has recently been released from prison, and seems the likeliest source of the items that keep turning up to remind Heather of her dark secret Heather turns PI, and does all she can to track down Lauren and to see if any of the surviving DGC members might be up to no good Her memories keep seeping into her consciousness as she goes about her gumshoe labors Her travails include her dealings with her husband, Ryan He has a client who seems never to pay his bills, and Heather keeps interrupting phone calls he is on that cause him to hang up a bit too quickly What s up with that They have a cute couples game that they play with each other, offering a cryptic one line summary of a movie, for the other to figure out That offers a chance to toss in some nice filmic references I wish there had been of that There are some nice elements in the book that merit mention Memory is given consideration when you recall the event, you aren t remembering the event itself, only the last recollection A memory of a memory And if the mind wants something to be real, it can rearrange facts and circumstances to suit Sometimes we make up stories to explain things to ourselves sometimes we do it to hide the truth This is actually pretty much the case I have memories of concrete events in my past that I know to be completely false Makes me wonder if memories have telomeres, like cells do In cells, every regeneration takes off another telomere, until there are no , at which point, the cell is no longer able to regenerate itself, definitely not a good thing, buh bye cell, at least well functioning cell It may be that memories have a fixed number of repeats before they degrade, as well This introduces the question of how truly Heather is recalling her experience as a twelve year old There is also a question raised of how far would you go to hang on to a treasured friendship These invest the novel with some real world moral, and scientific concerns Heather is also confronted with the cost of living a lie, which adds to the real world perspective.In reading a damaged woman in distress tale of this sort, it is important to feel a connection, to feel sympathy, maybe empathy There is enough in here to like about Heather, particularly her choice of profession But I did not feel for her the sort of interest that would raise the novel above the pack Becca is presented only in the past tense, in a book divided between then and now, so she gets a lot fewer pages, but she is by far the most interesting character in the book, a very powerful presence The portrayal of the relationship between Becca and Heather was a particularly strong element The secondary characters remain just that Heather s husband, Ryan, seemed a plot device and was not much developed as a character Nor were the other DGC members, or sundry supporting players Of course, in a horror book, the main thing is whether it provides chills For me, there were definitely some While there is no question that there is creepiness aplenty here, both in the events of 1991 and in what Heather goes through as an adult, these didn t cost me any shuteye But take that with a shaker of sale Few books do There is ambiguity throughout as to whether there was actual paranormal activity going on back in 1991 How much of what happened can be explained Are there occurrences that cannot One thing about this book is that it is entirely about the females Heather s husband, Ryan, is a secondary character, uninvolved in, maybe even hostile to, her challenges as an adult There are no males of note in the story of 1991, other than as back story baddies No white knights riding to the rescue to fret about Heather is tough enough to take on her personal horrors on her own While I would not put this in the top tier of horror writing, I did enjoy reading The Dead Girls Club, looked forward to finding out what was going on and just what the hell had actually happened when Heather and Becca were kids While it may not keep you up at night, this book certainly offers several hours of escapist entertainment, and if it creeps you out than it did me, then so much the better The lady She looks hungry, like maybe she s not a lady at all but a monster wearing a lady face That s how they trick you., monsters They put normal faces on so you think they re real, but they re not And when you get too close to run away, they show you their real ones, she says, eyes serious and far too knowing Review posted November 8, 2019Publication date December 10, 2019I received an ARE from Crooked Lane And I didn t have to kill anyone to get it Well, I suppose if I had, I would probably not exactly fess up about it here, so, maybe I did and maybe I didn t Thanks, folks EXTRA STUFFLinks to the Walters personal, Twitter, Instagram and FB pagesShe is the author of the 2018 novel Cry Your Way Home, and two short story collections, Sing Me Your Scars 2015 and Paper Tigers 2016 Her work has been included in The Year s Best Dark Fantasy Horror and The Year s Best Weird Fiction, and many anthologies and magazines Interviews Night Worms The Dead Girls Club On Inspiration and What s Hiding in the Dark with Author Damien Angelica Walters by Ashley Sawyers Ginger Nuts of Horror DAMIEN ANGELICA WALTERS INVITES YOU TO THE DEAD GIRLS CLUBItem of Interest ABC News Investigators in Slender Man case discuss chilling interviews with 12 year old attempted murderers by Allie Yang and Sean Dooley A Supernatural Thriller In The Vein Of A Head Full Of Ghosts About Two Young Girls, A Scary Story That Becomes Far Too Real, And The Tragic And Terrifying Consequences That Follow One Of Them Into Adulthood Red Lady, Red Lady, Show Us Your FaceIn , 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 ItThat Belief Got Becca KilledIt 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 HerNow, Someone Else Knows What She Didand They Re Determined To Make Heather Pay 2.5 starsSomeone, please tell me how this is a supernatural thriller So four 12 year old girls form a Dead Girl s club and one tells a scary story about the Red Lady who is a witch in her story Umm, that s a story Did I miss anything supernatural happening besides story telling That s my first beef with this book My second beef is that I had a hard time connecting with or feeling for any of the characters in this book except for Ryan, the husband of Heather, a child psychologist I mainly felt sorry for him Heather has received a necklace in the mail It is the other half of a necklace she had when she was twelve years old The other half belonged to her best friend, Becca Rebecca who was murdered.This book is told in Then and Now chapters and I have to say I only enjoyed the Then chapters I enjoyed the Red Lady story and how Becca spooked her friends when she told the story to them That was the best part of the book for me I found that storytelling to be brilliant and engaging.Otherwise, in the Now sections, Heather was mainly falling apart and becoming paranoid IS Becca still alive Who mailed her the locket necklace Why is someone doing this to her Plus, why isn t she telling her husband anything Because she has a secret, a terrible dark secretbut still.As Heather begins to grow desperate, those in her life begin to take notice, but can anyone save her from her past This one wasn t for me But check out the other review There are others who are really enjoying this book I can t fault the writing, this just wasn t the book for me Although this book did not work for me, I would be willing to read of this Author s books in the future.Thank you to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review All the thoughts and opinions are my own. The synopsis of this book sounds like it was written just for me Pairing a comparison of Head Full of Ghosts with a creepy rhyme Yes, please. The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters will be published on December 10th, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books It is a psychological thriller with a hint of fantasy thrown in to keep you on the edge of your seat The story alternates from 1991 to present day, focusing on the friendship between two teenage girls, Heather and Becca The tale reveals bit by bit, challenging readers to decide for themselves what information is missing and what could be happening It s not possible that the Red Lady has come back to life after centuries to get revenge, is it Heather and Becca form a storytelling club, as the title suggests They meet at an unoccupied house currently on the market with two other friends All four girls love being scared, but one story seems all too real Becca shares the history of the Red Lady, a woman scorned and out for vengeance Dirt in victims mouth Buried alive Multiple random deaths Did it really happen In a teenager s mind, anything is possible but this time, Becca has convinced them the woman is still alive today The dilemma is set quite early on, yet the pertinent details seep out through the subsequent chapters We don t know everything, and when we begin to see Heather break down in the current time period, we know something bad happened years ago.The characters are smart and witty I liked the relationships in the book, even when they were strained or awkward Heather s mother wants her to forget the past Heather s husband has no clue what s going on in his wife s life, but he is generally a doting and loving partner She s just good at hiding things from him because she thinks what s happening around her isn t really happening Yet she s a child psychologist and should know better The dynamics between the past and the present are well presented, allowing us to continue to guess Someone knows something, but we can t figure out who in Heather s life is keeping secrets too Then again, we wonder if she s making it all up, or is it another case of an unreliable narrator who is the guilty party herself I bounced around trying to guess, and even in the end, there s enough room for readers to summon their own interpretation.On the whole, I really enjoyed the story I found the plot captivating, and there were a bunch of red herrings and suspenseful moments where I kinda wanted to meet this Red Lady If you haven t done anything wrong, she s not supposed to hurt you I d be okay to look her in the eyes without dying, right Nonetheless, as an introduction to Walters work, this was great It s well written, concise but strongly descriptive, and full of lovely imagery Minor concerns over plot points had me squinting from time to time, but only the kinds of things that you look the other way on, as it helps make the story creepy Heather was too relaxed at times I would ve called the cops or talked to someone else, rather than just try to solve the mystery myself That s why people are different though we do things our own way, so I m sure someone else might follow Heather s path too.I recommend this one It s got bunches of creepy moments, a few laughs, and tons of head shaking yikes, what s wrong with people scenes Around 4.5 stars for making me a little anxious and obsessive about solving the mystery of a serial killer. Instagram Twitter Facebook Pinterest If I had to describe this book to you in a single sentence, I would tell you that it s like Gone Girl meets Darkness Falls Told in past and present, THE DEAD GIRLS alternates between a group of friends in the 90s who become fascinated by one girl s stories of an evil witch ghost called the Red Lady, and one woman living in the now who is haunted by something terrible and menacing.Heather and Becca were supposed to be best friends forever Then Becca started telling Red Lady stories, which are truly horrific They re about a witch who was murdered by the town and then came back as a vengeful ghost Becca has a lot of reasons to feel vengeful, and she ends up dragging her whole group of friends, including Heather, into her morbid fascination Now, Heather is an adult, has a job as a psychologist, and also married She s haunted by something that happened 30 years ago, and when someone starts stalking her and leaving her morbid clues, she naturally assumes it s someone from her childhood who wants to help her remember what she s tried so very hard to forget.This was really, really fun I m not going to pretend it s high literature, but I don t always go in for that Sometimes I want to be a low brow basic B who reads trashy mysteries on the bus with titles that scare her neighbors And yes, I see you woman who was staring at me and this book from across the aisle with obvious suspicion Welcome to the Dead Girl s Club, population ME No, but seriously, I literally devoured this in a single day I actually read this on my lunch break because I wanted closure and it was scary enough that I didn t want to read it after dark It s the perfect blend of Gillian Flynn esque murder mystery and supernatural horror, even if the twist at the end is a little diet meh.If you love mysteries about dysfunctional women and want to feel a little nostalgic about the 90s, this is a fantastic book It s breezy, fun, and has a gorgeous cover Do you need anything else in a book Probably not, don t be a snob Only I m allowed to be a snob, and even I liked this book Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review 4 to 4.5 stars Paranormal fiction, Supernatural thriller, suspense thriller, women fiction all in one That all went to hell in a handbasket for me That s pretty ambition in my option for an author to take on and not something I think is easy to pull off and unfortunately, I didn t think it was here with this one Separately I thought the elements were there for each genre but didn t really come together so well The suspense to the story took the hit for that for me I just wasn t feeling it There is some teenage drama and the main character can be annoying with their drama The story starts off with some really great supernatural elements to the story and I was loving the red lady She became an interesting character at first however near the end, I thought things switched to of a thriller I enjoyed the twists and even picked up on a few clues I liked the final reveal but in a whole, it didn t come together for me Even though My Grammarly is giving me a disapproving emoji on my tone for this review I don t want to sway anyone not to read a book because that s just not cool So even though this one didn t work for me, I still suggest giving it a try if you are looking for of a thriller with some creepy elements and don t mind some drama to your story.I received a copy from the publisher. This is basically Goosebumps for grownups.First and foremost, the description for this book gives away entirely too much of the plot The only thing not covered in the summary is the ending Alright clears throat here it goesThis was an exhausting read for me and I attribute this to the writing style The story is told in the popular Then Now alternating chapter format, of which I m a HUGE fan The worst way this can go wrong is if one of those narratives is unbearable and in this case, it s the Now chapters, told via the adult version of the main character, Heather The MC is OVER THE TOP UNBELIEVABLE in her actions and reactions I couldn t skim through these chapters fast enough As for the Then chapters narrated by tween Heather, there is entirely TOO MUCH DIALOGUE If I wanted to endure tween girls bickering incessantly I d go hang out in a middle school cafeteria There s little to no character development of the four girls featured in this story We re just kinda dropped into their lives and expected to connect with them.The gratuitous pop culture references are annoying It s the 90 s, we get it.The plotline led me to believe this would be a dark, creepy and foreboding read Unfortunately that promise didn t pan out I was provided an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The story is told from the viewpoint of Heather, a child psychologist, who is the last person I would ever want to be treating my child or any child Heather has a secret that she has repressed for thirty years and when she receives half of a friendship necklace in the mail, she knows her past has caught up to her When she was twelve, she performed a ritual with her best friend, Becca, which left Becca dead and Heather not remembering how she got rid of the body Becca s mom went to prison for the murder and until now, Heather thought no one knew her role in Becca s death With the appearance of Becca s half of the necklace she knows someone is telling her they know what she did Heather s fragile world and psyche come crashing down as Heather tries to figure out who is targeting her and her past This isn t really a horror story unless you are an impressionable twelve year old with an very active imagination In the THEN portions of the book, Becca, Heather, and two other girls like to tell each other very scary stories and Becca claims the stories she tells about the Red Lady are true The other two girls believe Becca s claims but Heather is sure that Becca is making up the stories about the Red Lady Eventually Becca goads Heather into proving that she believes the Red Lady is real, with disastrous consequences The NOW portions of the book consist of a hysterically paranoid Heather neglecting her patients She doesn t even take notes during sessions because she totally zones out the children she is treating, IF she even shows up for appointments Heather also proceeds to destroy friendships and her marriage as she won t tell anyone why she is going totally off the rails Everybody is a potential enemy to her and it feels to me that Heather must have been stuck at her twelve year old emotional level even now as a forty year old woman The author does a great job of portraying a desperate woman who is out of her mind frantic but Heather is such an unlikeable character that it s hard to have any sympathy for her plight Instead I was feeling sorry for all the people in her current life I did want to get to the end of the book to find out who did what and when and why but if I d had my way, Heather would be on some really strong chill pills while I read the story Thank you to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for this ARC.