The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

The Dead and the Dark‘s first few chapters were gripping. Vividly describing a nightmare lurking within the city of Snakebite. But as the chapters wore on my confusion grew, wondering at times, what exactly was going on.”

Cecelia Beckman, Sheaf & Ink

The Story

Logan Ortiz-Woodleys is used to her dads being on the road for their TV show ParaSpectors. But when their next gig leads them to Snakebite, Oregon, a town both of her dads once called home, Logan is not fully prepared for what she is about to encounter. Nor is she ready to know who will be her ally at the end of their trip.

From the Publisher: Wednesday Books

My Review: The Dead and the Dark

Once I turned the last page and finished reading The Dead and the Dark, I found myself quietly thinking of the words to describe what I just read. 

Committing to memory everything that took place from beginning to end. The questions I had, which, in truth, there were many.  And for me, the first few words that strung together into what was my first reaction was that this story has a lot of potential.

There are moments throughout the story that held me captive. Lush, evocative details that raise goosebumps as the images flash to life of haunting ghosts, an empty cabin, an unknown darkness that whispers in the night.  The beginning of the story is what truly set the tone.  Gould deftly paints the eerie and unsettling with relative ease.  Giving the reader a glimpse into the madness, that can send chills up your spine as you read the first to a string of murders that sets this whole story into motion.

From the Publisher: Wednesday Books

My Thoughts

Throughout the story Gould has these incredible scenes that she writes with such vivid yet eldritch like details.  From disturbing reoccurring dreams had by the main character Logan, to the ghostly encounters, she deftly paints the image of something being terribly wrong.

Gould’s setup of Logan and Ashley (the popular girl of Snakebite, whose mother practically owns the entire town) starting off as enemies, but come to the conclusion and ultimate truce, that they probably would work better together in finding Ashley’s missing boyfriend and clearing any suspicion of Logan’s parents being the suspects.  My concern was the lead up to them deciding to work together wasn’t as convincing or as climatic as I hoped.  I expected more clever witty banter between these two.  More anger on Logan’s part and her anger is the fuel to form an alliance.  Think Kristen Ciccarelli’s, The Sky Weaver.

From the Publisher: Wednesday Books

A Few Last Thoughts

When it comes to suspending readers’ disbelief, authors should have an initial buy-in.  Where readers are willing to go along with the paranormal components be it a ghost encounter or an alien like substance taking over characters in the story.  For me, I didn’t truly feel compelled to completely follow along.  I kept finding myself writing down questions. Questions about what was going on, distracting me from fully immersing myself into the supernatural.

Even though Gould’s novel is specified as horror, it isn’t necessarily scary, where you need the lights on in order to read the novel, even though there were horrific things taking place.  There is definitely an unsettling atmosphere about the book, but not the kind of horror that will give you nightmares in any case.

One other aspect of the novel that seemed to distract from the narrative happens towards the end.  Where we get there is a chapter dedicated to the backstory of Logan’s dad Brandon.  I felt there could have been a better way to embed that story line early as it took away the urgency of what was happening to Logan in the previous chapter.

With continuity issues between the characters views of themselves, their feelings towards each other, and the place they live, dialogue that sometimes felt off, the repetition of using “two weeks” to move the story along, and phrases that didn’t make sense, The Dead and the Dark fell short of a fully envisioned horror/thriller novel it could have been.

Happy Reading ̴ Cece

RATING: ink blotink blot – Adequately Inked


Author: Courtney Gould

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication Date: August, 2021

Pages: 384

ISBN-10:  1250762014

ISBN-13:  978-1250762016

Audience: 13 and up

Jacket Art: Unknown at this time

Jacket Design: Unknown at this time

You can find The Dead and the Dark at Macmillan Publishing


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Need More Book Recommendations?

Sheaf & Ink has reviewed a number of Young Adult novels in thriller and suspense like The Dead and the Dark. Read Capturing the Devil and Wilder Girls reviews to find your next favorite book and join the conversation. We love hearing from you.



Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco



Wilder Girls by Rory Power



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