Book Review & Aesthetic: The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

4 creepy, ghost hunting, queer stars!

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This book will be published by Wednesday books on August 3, 2021.

Diversity Representation: Own Voices, Bisexual representation, LGBTQIAP+

Content Warnings: Homophobia (verbal, non-physical), child death, murder, clausterphobia (buried alive), drowning, slurs

The Dead and the Dark completely surprised me. I actually didn’t realize it was going to be scary until after I got this book, and I am a complete and total scaredy cat. So needless to say I was incredibly apprehensive going into this book. However, it was absolutely delightful. I really liked it and had a ton of fun reading it.

The Dead and the Dark follows Logan and her two ghost-hunters-on-television dads. They’ve always lived on the road shooting their show, and this time they are packing up and leave from LA to the dads hometown of Snakebite in rural Oregon. They’re supposedly there to scout for an episode of the show, but Logan feels something is off right from the beginning. Needless to say she was right.

“Greetings, rednecks. I come in peace.”

What I really loved about this book was that it kept me guessing and wondering the entire time. As soon as I started to forget about the Dark that was introduced in the prologue, Gould would draw me back in at just the right time to start to wonder about it all over again. It is such a delight for me to read a book that brings life to something that generally isn’t alive, in this case the Dark.

As it turned out, driving was much harder during a panic attack.

Another wonderful thing that I loved about this book was that feeling that, even though there is something going bump in the night, it feels like uneducated humans are the real monster. You know the feeling. Where there is literally something supernatural happening, but you can’t help being more scared for the lives of the queer family in a very small and very conservative town that is secluded away from the rest of the world… where no one will hear their screams. It gives me goosebumps!

So as I mentioned above, I am a huge huge scaredy cat. I am really afraid of literally anything. However, this book was able to be enjoyable to me even though I’m so scared, because Gould threw in bits of sarcasm and comedy throughout the entire thing. And I just want to say thank you Courtney Gould for doing that, otherwise I never would have been able to get through this. It is creepy and light hearted. What a beautiful balance!

And of course, you can’t exactly judge a book this way, but the cover is absolutely gorgeous. But every single time I opened it to read, I just stared at the cover for a second (which was a little lame, considering I read ebooks almost exclusively). It just made it feel good reading! Is anyone else like this?

“Anything’s a walking shoe if you believe in yourself.”

This time around, I decided to do something fun. Okay, really it was Sarah at Girl on Books who convinced me. Surprise surprise there, right? Anyway, I decided to put together an aesthetics board for this book! Please enjoy some mildly creepy but pretty vibes, because that’s exactly how this book feels!

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Big Takeaway

The Dead and the Dark is a wonderful, not so scary, queer ghost story. I absolutely loved the Dark in this book and the “humans are the real monster” dread that came through the entire novel. Courtney Gould definitely delivered in the atmosphere in this creepy rural Oregon town. Can’t wait for more of Gould’s books!

I received a free advanced readers copy of this book and am leaving this review voluntarily.

About the Author

Courtney Gould writes books about queer girls, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Publishing. Born and raised in Salem, OR, she now lives and writes in Tacoma, WA where she continues to write love letters to the haunted girls and rural, empty spaces. The Dead and the Dark is her debut novel.

Do you think you will pick this book up when it comes out? I mean look at that cover!!!

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Want to read The Dead and the Dark, but need to make sure that you will remember on publication day? Pin it!

Like my mood board and want to look at it again later? There’s a pin for that too!