The Dead House is a chilling ghost story about a young woman’s descent into madness as she’s swallowed up by the wild Irish countryside. The prose in this novel is absolutely beautiful and paints a stunning picture of a countryside that feels stuck in time, still deeply connected to Celtic tradition. The land is haunted by the tragedy of the Great Famine, where over a million people died of disease and starvation.
When I had read that there was a ouija board in the synopsis I’ll admit that I rolled my eyes. I quickly found that I was mistaken in my pre-judgment of the novel. This book had some genuinely tense moments that made me feel uncomfortable. The writing style is suffocatingly atmospheric, like the land itself is evil, not just the house.
“Something about this landscape, beautiful as it was, inspiring as it must have been with its rare light and aura of ancient magic, troubled me at an almost primal level.”
My only major gripe about the novel was that Mike’s character felt inconsistent. The first half of the book makes such a big deal about how important Maggie is to him and how much he cares. Yet when it’s clear that she’s not well he’d sooner deny and run. Maybe this was intentional, but it just felt like it went against everything his character was built up to be.
Overall though this is a pretty decent read for horror lovers, especially those interested in a little bit of Irish mythology. I picked this book up on a whim and I’m glad that I did, I was enthralled by the story and flew through the pages wanting more.