The Dead and the Dark by: Courtney Gould

Billed as a paranormal thriller, The Dead and The Dark takes place in a small town. We follow a family, two dad’s and their freshly graduated daughter Logan. Who also happens to be gay.

One member of the family is Hispanic. HE ocassionally speaks spanish and we learn that Logan has been attempting to learn it as well but he’s not around to help her practice much.

Why? Because her father’s have a ghost hunting show that takes them around the country. Logan gets moved around and hasn’t had a place that feels like home. Everyhwere’s been temporary.

Her relationship with her father Brandon is cold. It really did hurt to see the distance between them.

I love paranormal thrillers and the concept of this book was amazing. It was just so slow. There’s slow burn and then there’s “I’m bored”. And I got bored.

Not because the writing was bad, it wasn’t. It was actually nice to read. I just got so bored waiting for something to happen.

We do get a few chapters from the dark’s point of view which was an interesting touch.

I’m giving the book three stars. There’s a Sapphic romance sublot which didn’t really sit right with me and I wish it had.

Why? Because the love interest is looking for her missing boyfriend. She and Logan spend a lot of time together and fall for each other. While the love interest is still looking for her missing boyfriend.

It felt gross.

This is where the spoilers come in.

Early in the book while Logan and her father’s are sleeping at a motel that Alejo’s aunt own, someone in town spray paints the doors.

They write a homophobic slur on the doors.

Alejo says it’ll be fine and Brandon doesn’t really react. Logan goes to the sheriffs office to report is as a hate crime.

See, Snake Bite is the kind of town that doesn’t like outsiders. It’s insulated and everyone knows everyone else’s business.

One of the biggest linchpins of the story revol;ves around a cabin that the kids all hag out at before even mor of them start getting picked off.

Turns out, the cabin used to belong to Logan’s fathers. They got the land from the love interest’s mother when they were younger.

Before they left town. Because of the homophobia.

Brandon lost his job and the love interest’s mother, Tammy, tells her daughter that she helped run them out of town because it was safer for them. That she convinced people not to go after them.

This isn’t said to put her in a good light. She’s not made to look like a hero for it. But when Alejo and Brandon come back, she is described at one point as disgusted.

And the homophobia pops up a few times.

The author doesn’t say what the slur was and there are no on the pager acts of violence aginst her father’s.

When Logan is found kissing the love interest, another girl, when one of the boy’s tries to drown her, he’s already threatened to kill her once and mentioned something about her and the love interest being together. I

He thinks he’s saving his friend since everyone in town thinks Logan’s fathers had something to do with the missing and then murdered kids. I also wonder if he was doing it because he saw the two girls kissing and the “Saving” was also saving her from a lesbian.

When a story takes place in a small town, I don’t expect diversity. Because a lot of writers think small town and think all white. If it’s based in a real town, I’ll let it go.

When someone makes a town from scratch, I can’t. Even a homophobic town is bound to have more than one minority in it.

Alejo’s family are the only minorities. The family that still lives there. And we don’t get any kind of glimpse into what that family is like. Just the occasional Spanish.

It was a bit infuriating, as weak diversity always is.

I’m not saying I want the culture’s entire history written out for me. All I want is just see a little. Is it near Halloween and the family is Mexican? Do we see an ofrenda? If it’s any culturally significant date or even just items or mentions of things.

I didn’t expect Black people or any other BIPOC and didn’t get any. A fake town doesn’t get the pass a real one does.

And when it comes to character they’re all flat.

I couldn’t remember the boys’ names half the story, only when someone said them. Everyone is just flat.

This book has promise and the worldbuilding was solid but it was all sort of undone for me by the ending.

It was so abrupt. I mean abrupt.

The dark is defeated, Logan and her dad hug, she drives off with her girlfriend, the end.

It was the fastest part of the book and not in a good way.

Did I hate it? No. Did I love it? Not at all. But the author has some strengths and I am excited to see more.

This review was given in exchange for the ARC.

Author:

Author. Reader. Reviewer. Interested in Sci-fi, Fantasy, and everything in between. Ya, and Adult. Looking for representaion where it matters! BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, everything! We all deserve stories!

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