Cover Image: The Dead and the Dark

The Dead and the Dark

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Member Reviews

Content warnings: Homophobia, biphobia, death of a child, murder, strangulation and drowning. 

My rating: 5/5

First time I’ve ever seen the author provide a full list of content warnings at the start of a book. 
Honestly the atmosphere of this book is just brilliant.
Insidious small town secrets? Sign me up
I love a ghost hunting show, this one sounds like a queer ghost adventures and I want to watch it 

It has existed in Snakebite as long as memory, but in the man it sees new horizons. It is the shadows , the shifting boughs, the deeps of the lake. It has existed here as long as hate has clouded the hearts of Snakebite like black smog. It is impossible to say when the Dark begins. But this is where it ends.

I read this book in one day, on Easter Sunday, armed with a massive mug of coffee and a fluffy blanket. I got to 97% at maybe midnight and went ‘Well now I have to finish it’ and I DID. That is the enormity of my endorsement of this book. It’s creepy and queer and brilliantly written and I loved it so much. I will be riding the high of my one-day book until approximately 2035. 

This book just sucked me in and refused to loosen its grip until it was done, and it did so by including a number of my favourite things:
Queer rep
Supernatural haunting type creepiness
A whodunnit
Small town secrets
Did I mention the queer rep
A cheesy ghost hunting show

Yup, this book centres around Logan Ortiz-Woodley and her fathers Brandon and Alejo who are the stars of a paranormal investigation show that sounds as cheesy and dramatic as that one show we all know but do not mention by name for legal reasons but rhymes with post shmadventures but a thousand percent queerer and more romantic and honestly I want to watch this show. I mean there’s a toilet that doubles as a portal to hell - how dare this not be a real show. When Brandon ups and moves his family to the town he and Alejo grew up in - Snakebite, where small town politics and homophobia take not just a front seat but the entire front row - to film an episode of the show, Logan is just waiting until she hits eighteen and can officially leave. Brandon has been pushing her away for years, and she’s sick of trying to figure out why. Of course, when it turns out that a string of disappearances in Snakebite line up with her family’s appearance in town they don’t exactly get the warmest of welcomes. 

Ashley Barton’s boyfriend is missing, and she will comb every inch of Snakebite’s woods until she finds him. Tristan seems to be lingering in the corner of her vision everywhere she looks, never quite in sight, always on the periphery. When this odd new family appears, it only makes sense for her to investigate. 

I loved this book, the sinister, creeping tone of it, the small town prejudices given almost tangible form. Snakebite was that epitome of American small town horror, with its ‘close knit’ community and distrust of strangers, and that something in the air around all of them. Given that Logan’s fathers do a show about ghosts, the book seems to me almost more about the things that haunt people every day - not the dead, necessarily, but the things left unsaid, the lies, the secrets people keep and the lengths they will go to in order to conceal them. 

While it’s definitely not terror-inducing on the horror scale, more an atmospheric read, it definitely has some heavy topics in it. All are listed at the start of the book, and the top of this review, in case you may find them upsetting to read. If you’re comfortable with the topics mentioned, I’d highly recommend this book - in fact it was so good, I may just read it again!
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The Dead and the Dark is a gripping (not so scary) story of a ghost hunting family visiting their home town where something dark and eerie is haunting all of the innermost corners of this small town full of people with very small minds. * Gasp * Which one could be scarier?!

This book, like previously stated above, literally GRIPPED me from the first chapter and refused to let me go. Like I was sitting up in a dark room with just my kindle to light the way with my eyes peeled, itching to figure out what is happening in the extremely small town of Snakebite. What I got was a bunch of twists and a lot of gasps and some (happy) tears. 

The Dead and the Dark was so much more then I expected it to be from the LGBTQ rep, which btw, I thought the romance was done excellently and realistically. But also we we’re handed a family with a ton of issues and shown that not all family’s look and act the same way and how some family’s are found instead. 

Yes, this book had some supernatural-esqu vibes but I loved every second of it and found it to be so much deeper then it appears. This book was ultimately about what dark and evil thoughts and feelings can do when they seep into the heart of a community and what it can create with so much hate. 

Also, the writing style was so easy to read and just devour. The author not only showed us what all of the main characters were thinking and feeling but also how outsiders of this town viewed what was happening as well as the perspective of the people that actually live and breath that small town.  

If you couldn’t tell already, I loved and definitely do recommend this story. I’m so very happy to have enjoyed this and I’m glad to say it has lived up to the hype surrounding it. 

CW: Murder, homophobic slurs, death, blood, violence
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Truly one of the best books I’ve read all year! I could not put it down (ended up reading the first hundred pages in a single day). The characters are so brilliant, I was captivated by all of them. The writing is gorgeous, with a haunting lyrical quality. It was creepy in a way that wove through the atmosphere of the story. I would recommend this story to anyone!
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Thank you to NetGalley for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Guys. Oh my god. I feel like the only thing I can say right now is wow. Wow wow wow wow. I am so in awe! I finished The Dead and the Dark with a pounding heart, blown away by how incredible it was. I was distraught to leave this story!

This is one of those books that snags you from the very first line and never lets you go. The hook all by itself is mind-blowing. The prose is rich, pulling you in so deep you’ll be seeing a vivid movie behind your eyes. There were perhaps some lines that felt overly familiar and definitely a bit cheesy, but if they took me out of the story, it wasn’t for very long – Gould is talented enough to reel you right back in.

The atmosphere of this story was incredible. It felt dusty and dark and damp and cold and hot all at once (in the best possible way!) and I had a wad of excitement and anticipation lodged in my chest every second while reading. This is also marketed as a horror, and while I certainly found myself tense more than a few times – because again, this is definitely dark – I can’t quite say I was scared. That said, I’m also not a teen anymore so I’m not technically the horror aspect’s target audience!

The cast of characters were all deeply relatable in their own ways, and I adored all of them from the second they were introduced. I love a somewhat pessimistic protagonist, which is what we get with Logan without her being overbearing or exhausting. Ashley’s uncertainty and fear and confliction hit me right where it hurts. I wanted to wrap both of these girls up in a blanket and give them the tightest hugs they’ve ever had – I want to be best friends with them. And, of course, Alejo and Brandon… well, what’s not to love about a pair of secretive ghost-hunting husbands?

Speaking of! The main romance in this story is seen between Logan – an openly gay teen, adopted daughter to the two aforementioned ghost-hunting dads – and Ashely, a girl from a small, close-minded town whose boyfriend, Tristan, has gone missing. Ashley is still grieving from Tristan’s disappearance, so the romance could never have been the main focus of the story, but don’t get me wrong: it’s here, it’s queer, it’ll make your heart melt. It’s something of a slow burn, and it’s so worth it. Also, given that Ashley was raised in a town where the homophobia runs rampant, I felt it was handled extraordinarily well. The romance, while still being soft and wonderful, was also refreshingly raw and real. I miss them dearly already.

Remember when I casually mentioned the missing boyfriend? I think I could talk about the mystery here for paragraphs upon paragraphs, but I will once again bring it short with a holy crap. Once again: mind blown. The mystery was beautifully dark and twisted and so insanely clever. I was jotting down notes trying to work out what was going on (I did not succeed, but it was fun rather than frustrating). Everything ties up so neatly – even the things I didn’t quite… expect. Beautiful. Chef's kiss. MWAH.

All in all, The Dead and the Dark deserves every five-star review sent its way! It’s emotional and loving and dark and sapphic and UGH! All the love! Add it to your TBRs. Or else. :)
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I liked this! I enjoyed both the main characters and the story was good. 

The only drawback for me is that it wasn’t scary at all, and I wish I had more of the romance in the end. 

Overall it was a decent story though!
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This YA paranormal mystery/thriller was this author’s debut novel. It was creepy and haunting. It was emotional and loving. It was so much more than I expected and I loved it from start to finish. 

Logan Ortiz-Woodley, 17, accompanied her dads on their trip back to their hometown of Snakebite, Oregon. They haven’t been back there in 13 years, and for good reason. There was something dark and sinister going on in Snakebite, especially within that isolated cabin in the woods. When one of the local teenagers went missing, the townspeople looked to the dads as suspects.  Ashley, the daughter of the wealthiest and most powerful person in Snakebite, enlisted Logan’s help in trying to find her missing boyfriend. Logan agreed and at the same time tried to find evidence to prove her dad had nothing to do with the missing teenager. As the girls searched for answers, they uncovered truths not only about Snakebite, but about themselves as well. 

I loved how the dads and the girls evolved throughout the story.The latter going from enemies to friends to girlfriends. Ashley initially fought her attraction to Logan and then eventually fought for their relationship to continue. It was not easy and there were some very tense scenes involving homophobic rage directed their way. 

When I started reading this, I was intrigued with the paranormal aspect of the story. Then as the story developed, I became invested in the lives of Logan and her dads. Logan had such a disconnect with one of her dads that it was heartbreaking. But there was a reason for that..and that unveiling was both beautiful and dangerous. The author did a great job in bringing everything together. 

This was a very well written story and highly recommended for all types of readers. 

An ARC was  given for an honest review.
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It was really satisfying to sit and read a good ol' ghost (or what have you) story, especially in the rainy weather. The book definitely had spooky vibes and got more intense as the plot escalated. I expected more from the relationship aspect but it worked well that the characters were more focused on what was going on in town. I could have used a bit more spookiness but it was still fun.
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I just Googled to see whether The Dead and the Dark has been optioned for a TV series (nothing yet!) because the premise just begs for screen time: recent graduate accompanies her two ghost hunting dads to the creepy rural town where they grew up, becomes implicated in a string of paranormal teen disappearances, and uncovers a dark secret about her past, all while practicing her cutting sarcasm on the town bullies and flirting with the cute girl who becomes her partner in crime (fighting). The narration largely alternates between Logan, new to Snakebite and not thrilled to be there, and Ashley, the hometown hero whose boyfriend was the first teen to disappear, with occasional appearances by the Dark—the mysterious force at the center of the deaths in Snakebite. To be honest, I was less spooked by the Dark than I was by the more predictable darkness of homophobia and casual violence that pervades Snakebite, but the mystery is compelling enough to encourage binge-reading. I was hooked from the start, and I'm excited to recommend this book to my reluctant readers, horror fans, and romance lovers. 

Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the ARC!
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I love a good mystery thriller book, and The Dead and the Dark delivered just that! The it was amazing and kept me on my toes. This book has been compared to Riverdale and I could see the similarities but The Dead and the Dark was way better in my opinion! This is a must read!!
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I didn’t read too much into the plot before reading this one. I love a YA thriller so I had high hopes and this did not disappoint. Logan’s the daughter of Brandon and Alejo, known for their paranormal tv show. When Brandon returns to their hometown of Snakebite to “scout new locations,” Alejo and Logan ultimately follow. However, mysterious things have happened including the disappearance of a teen. Logan is stuck in the middle and tries to navigate this new town with the not super willing help of Ashley, the missing teen’s ex girlfriend.

This book gave strong Riverdale vibes. It was eerie and interesting and I was unsure what was going to happen. Definitely recommend!
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A tense mystery/thrilled with a hint of supernatural or otherworldliness, an examination of how we relate to our past and present, and a reminder that we don’t always know everything about our parents.  Reading this was a well-spent afternoon.
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This book was a hard one to read in the best of ways. Gould really put these characters through so much and the resilience of Ashely and Logan was astounding. Alejo and Brandon's story was both beautiful and astoundingly sad. The side characters throughout the book were complex and felt very real (and not always in a good way). I especially loved Bug and her sheer protectiveness and innate care for her friends. The mystery totally had me hooked and every time something new was uncovered, I felt my heart leap a little from the stress. The emotions of the characters translated so well off the page which made it that much more intense of a story. The nuances in the story of grief and love and hate made it so powerful. Ashley and Logan had such a complicated start relationship and I felt that Gould really did their relationship justice by addressing the homophobia in Snakebite along with all the other pressures the girls faced. The characters were deeply intertwined in just about a million ways and I'm definitely planning on rereading this to see if there were any clues I missed along the way. The ending felt like the closest thing to a perfect ending the characters could get and the climax leading up to the ending was very emotional. Overall this was a fantastic, quick, mystery read.
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Eerie and addicting, a perfect Halloween read. 

I was attached from page one, and though I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters, the concept and plot were spectacular. Full RTC.
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I'm not a huge thriller reader, mainly because thrillers tend to bore me as they usually don't make me feel emotionally invested - I often end up finding the characters too flat.

This one, I could not put down, and that's mainly because I was so invested in Logan and her family. This was a really atmospheric, well written book, but what mainly made it stand out to me was the complicated family dynamic between Logan and her dads. This even ended up making me cry.
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Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular - it's like Lady Gaga was talking about this book.. Gould's debut novel is all of these things. I could not put it down, was completely mesmerized from the very first page on. "The Dead and the Dark" is a YA horror mystery thriller, a mash up of different genres that left me completely breathless. It is incredibly well written in a captivating style that makes it an unputdownable pageturner.
The plot sounds, on the surface, like every other thriller there is out there: Kids keep disappearing and turning up dead in a small American town where everyone knows everyone, making the crime something deeply personal in itself. But "The Dead and the Dark" is so much more than that. It's truly is dark and twisted, playing with supernatural themes, exposing the darkness of humankind as well as the power of grief, hatred, desperation, loneliness - and also love. Love is one of the central themes of this novel, and it's not even the romantic kind of love (even though the romance between the two protagonists is absolutely wonderful despite all the darkness surrounding them), it's the love that parents have for their children and vice versa. This novel is creepy, creating an eerie atmosphere from the start, never letting the reader off the hook - but it's also deeply emotional on so many levels. It deals with heavy topics like grief, death, homophobia, but at the same time never lets us forget that there is good in the world, too. 

The characters are just... ugh. I don't even know how to express my love for them, which is a very rare thing for me, to be honest. I rarely connect with characters from thriller/horror/mystery type books like I did with Logan, with Ashley, with Brandon, with Alejo. They are complex, utterly likeable and unique. Brandon especially really hit home with me, even though he is the most tragic character of them all. The whole "tv ghost hunter" angle was really fun, too, even though it didn't really add much to the plot in the end. Listen, I just really really love this family of two dads, their lesbian daughter and their 'redneck princess' daughter-in-law.

Does everything make sense in this story? No, probably not. There is one decision the "big bad" makes that made me wonder if they're maybe a giant idiot, because really, they should know better for various reasons. Does that have any negative influence on just how much I enjoyed this book? None whatsoever.

This novel is honestly so good, I'm going to read anything Courtney Gold will release in the future. Even if it's just her forking shopping list.
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I really enjoyed this book. From the beginning, it really pulls the reader in. T reader also gets invested in the main characters of the story and what is happening in the town. there are a couple of things I did not like about the book. Some parts of the book are a little cheesy. For example, the name of the town. The author could have used more imagination. Also, the whole ghosthunter show thing is cheesy. The author also does not delve into some of the characters deeply enough. It is unrealistic to think that an entire town will turn against a person because they are gay, maybe 20 years ago, but not today. Other than those things listed, I found the book quite entertaining.
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I love love love the premise of this book. An updated ghost hunters, but so much better. I loved the characters, the story development, and the writing. Definitely recommend!
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OMG... What did I just read? My head is exploding after finishing with what I think will be one of my top 5 books of 2021. It should be noted that my favorite genre is fantasy. I don't read many thrillers but this one has simply blown my mind. Courtney Gould is going to set the bar very high with this amazing debut. 
I love the queer representation that we find in the book. Bisexual and gay parents with a lesbian daughter? Take all my money. The narrative of the book is excellent, fluid and charged with a mysterious and supernatural terror. In some sections it was like reading something from Stephen King mixed with a Teen TV show but in a good way. Although our life situations are different, I felt deeply connected with Logan's loneliness and her search for the truth of what is happening in the town.
I loved this book and can't wait to buy a physical copy and reread it. Many thanks to NetGalley for providing me with this advanced copy of this twisted story full of mystery and representation that is as unconventional as it is necessary.
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This is the ghost hunting thriller you didn’t know you needed until you crack the book open and read the first two sentences!

I was Entranced from the first sentence, hooked by the first intro, and spellbound the entire novel. I wanted to figure out who the murderer was the entire time. Who was attached to The Dark? How was this intertwined with the town and Alejo, Brandon, Ashley, and Logan?  What secrets were being kept? What was the author foreshadowing?  The relationships that fueled this novel were captivatingly beautiful, raw, and real. The author did an amazing job at depicting life like characters that were relatable. 

I have to admit there were some seriously spooky moments while I was reading! If you’re a fan of Karina Halle’s Experiment in Terror, this may be your jam! I read it in one go without putting it down. I will definitely be putting this author on my list of up and coming! This was a great read and I’m excited for other novels! 

I received an ARC from NetGalley for review.
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Logan has spent her almost 18 years feeling alone while her dads are off filming their paranormal hunter show, leaving her counting down the days when she will turn 18 and can escape her current life to find a better one. Her dads' new filming location just happens to be the town they grew up in, a tiny close minded town that doesn't want any of them there. It seems a boy went missing and her father is the number one suspect and it is up to Logan to try and uncover the truth, no matter how hard it might be.

The Dead and the Dark was full of spooky ambiance and mystery and I loved getting sucked into the story. I read it mainly at night and it really creeped me out which was fun. I had no idea what was going on or what would happen next but I was totally there for it. I can say the plot was completely unique, the small town setting great for the loneliness and isolation the story built, and the two main characters were very well developed and relatable. 

I will say that the ending was a big disappointment for me. The story built to epic heights and I expected an ending to live up to what the story built, but instead everything felt very rushed and was basically a HEA wrapped up in a bow. I wanted more and I felt like what I got didn't match the rest of the book- like a great horror movie that runs out of money or time and shoves a terrible ending as filler. Keep in mind this is just my opinion, you might really like the direction the story took.
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