The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Heather, Becca, Gia and Rachel – four 12 year old friends who love everything ghoulish, who loves to read about Ted Bundy and other serial killers, the more macabre and gruesome the details the more interested they are, reading true crime books and a penchant for the revolting crimes. Dead Girls Club is formed coz of their love for everything horrific. However, like most groups, there is still a division in the friendship, Becca and Heather are best friends while Gia and Rachel form the other pair.

30 yrs. later, the friends are not friends anymore, Rachel is a divorce attorney, Heather is a child psychiatrist, Gia is just moved to Heather’s neighboring town. But what exactly happened all those years ago when the girls began to believe in a witch called the Red lady whose story of death and the price extracted from her tormentors was beyond ghastly and morbid. Narrated by Becca, each and every story about the Red Lady becomes more horrible until Heather begins to resent it and her voice of dissent opens up a crack in the deep friendship with Becca. That summer was unlike any other but Heather and Becca had to pay an unforgettable price and someone or something is hell-bent on reminding Heather of it, destroying her peace of mind and causing havoc in her simple existence.

This book had everything going for it, a sense of menace, an unquiet and anxious back and forth story telling alternating between the 12 yr. old girls and 30 yr. old Heather. How much of the witch-y presence is real is left for the readers to guess at which I thought was excellently done and each of the twisty reveals was brilliant. But in spite of all that, the sore point is the whiny, hard to like adult Heather who behaves in the most bizarre way possible. The parts of the story with her engaged in all sorts of destructive behavior, stalking Gia and Rachel, her suspicions about her best friend and her husband, making herself bleed by tearing up cuticles, each of these instances should have evoked sympathy for the character but causes a subtle irritation. It is actually Becca whose painful existence, her belief in the Red Lady and her relationship with her abusive mother that invokes a feeling of pain and profound sadness.

A brilliant book that is absolutely compelling and has that ‘don’t put me down’ quality. In fact, the stories about the witch Red Lady was utterly chilling and spine tingling and for that alone, I would love to read more by the author.

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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. 

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