The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould was a fantastic horror novel. Kids are going missing, and Logan and Ashley are going to find out why.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.
Courtney Gould’s thrilling debut The Dead and the Dark is about the things that lurk in dark corners, the parts of you that can’t remain hidden, and about finding home in places―and people―you didn’t expect.
The Dark has been waiting for far too long, and it won’t stay hidden any longer.
Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.
Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.
“After thirteen years, the Dark has finally come home.”
The start of this book was confusing, and this made it a little difficult to get into. However, once it started, it was impossible to put down. The piecing together of all the stories felt somewhat clunky. I think this is what caused it to have a rough start. After about 30% of the way through, things really started to come together in an interesting way. The murder mystery aspect was really neat. I’m glad that the allusion to the paranormal didn’t end in a mental illness cop-out. This tends to happen pretty often in these kinds of books.
“The night was black and full of something like magic, but darker.”
I liked Ashley and Logan more than I expected to. I had concerns that I had been tricked by book Twitter into thinking this was a sapphic book. However, it genuinely blooms into one. The subtle racism and homophobia wrapped into the paranormal aspects. This was a good way to address these things in this context, especially as it was fueled by hate. As for the horror side of things, this book would be good for people who don’t have the stomach for gore in thrillers. There aren’t very many descriptors of violence, and Gould tends to lean towards “fade to black” style writing for young adult reading. This isn’t a bad thing and is good for people who enjoy the mystery of these books, but not the violence.
“In the beginning, the Dark is only a thought.”
The ending of this story made me emotional, and I was happy with the way it all worked out. All of my questions were answered, and nothing was left hanging. There’s also reference and jokes to them all needing therapy after this, and, really this is something I appreciate in a thriller book. All in all, I thought this was a “keep you on the edge of your seat” mystery, and it truly had me hooked.
“The Dark is hungry tonight. It is starving.”
Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.