Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

The Dead House

by Billy O'Callaghan

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Debut Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Modern and Contemporary Fiction Relationship Stories Spine-Chilling Fiction Thriller and Suspense

LoveReading View on The Dead House

May 2017 Debut of the Month.

A beautifully eerie tale, a feast for your eyes, a torment for your mind. The exquisite cover immediately called to me, I found myself bewitched and reaching out to touch it. A house sits at the centre of this tale, a house bought as a means to escape, to reconnect, to exist at one with the surroundings. Michael invites us to listen to a story, and he paints a picture for you to taste, to feel. The descriptions are striking, particularly of the people, filling my eye and mind with their essence. Yet a trickle of unease hovers over the pages, encouraging thoughts to flicker, leaving you teetering on the edge of fear. Billy O’Callaghan writes with a skilfully light touch, this isn’t a terrifying, afraid to sit in the dark tale, it’s more subtle than that, instead it will creep inside minds, slice a little space for itself, and take up residence.‘The Dead House’, with a shiver-inducing final few pages, is a wonderfully mesmerising read, and I loved it. ~ Liz Robinson

Liz Robinson

The Dead House Synopsis

Attempting to rebuild her life after a violent relationship, Maggie Turner, a successful young artist, moves from London to Allihies and buys an ancient abandoned cottage. Keen to concentrate on her art, she is captivated by the wild beauty of her surroundings. After renovations, she hosts a house-warming weekend for friends. A drunken game with a Ouija board briefly descends into something more sinister, as Maggie apparently channels a spirit who refers to himself simply as 'The Master'. The others are visibly shaken, but the day after the whole thing is easily dismissed as the combination of suggestion and alcohol. Maggie immerses herself in her painting, but the work devolves, day by day, until her style is no longer recognisable. She glimpses things, hears voices, finds herself drawn to certain areas: a stone circle in the nearby hills, the reefs at the west end of the beach behind her home ...A compelling modern ghost story from a supremely talented writer. From the Costa Short Story Award Finalist, Billy O'Callaghan. 'a welcome voice to the pantheon of new Irish writing' - Edna O'Brien

The Dead House Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Edel Waugh - 'This is probably one of the best ghost stories that I have read in years...I had goosebumps reading this, the bleak setting, this mentally wounded woman, and a deeply unsettling house.'
  • Sarah Musk - 'If you like to be scared, this book will scare you to death! This one of the creepiest books I have ever read.  The whole story reeks of menace and evil.'
  • Nicola Lowes - 'I really enjoyed this book. The tension is kept as an undercurrent which makes it all the more creepy...I would like to read more by this author.'
  • Sheila Dale - 'This is a very good book, exceedingly readable, I couldn't put it down and read it in 2 sittings. It's very well structured with long chapters which really throw you into the story.'
  • Cathy Petersen - 'Genuinely creepy in places this was a really good debut ghost story, well worth a read... An author to watch I think.'
  • Carrie Jones - 'Everything a ghost story should be; ominous, dark and truly scary. Read it with the lights on…'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'It’s haunting drama is unveiled by some of the most poignantly descriptive writing I have read for an age.  O’Callaghan paints in words...'
  • Lorraine Blencoe - 'Beautifully written ghostly goings-on... But the quality of the description is also its downfall because there’s just too much of it.'
  • Jayne Burton - 'Wow - what a great read. Spine chillingly good.'
  • Gerri Tennant - 'Wonderfully crafted, it drew me in right from the start.'
  • Sabine Little - 'Beautifully written, and eerie in an understated way that keeps you reading all the way though. This is a beautifully written book, the prose is haunting'
  • Emma Barton - 'This is an atmospheric ghost story...and the author certainly expresses a keen sense of evil within the storytelling.'
  • Sally Doel - 'I quickly got into this book and thought it was well-written and had great characters.'
  • Fiona Rothery - 'one of the best new novels I have read in a long time.  It is mysterious, compelling and full of beautiful and vivid description.'
  • Angela Rhodes - 'A beautiful, story, that climbs slowly, enticing the reader...haunting and beautifully written.'
  • Sue Packer - 'a frightening but enjoyable read, and even better, an ending that chills the soul.'
  • Ann Quintilla - 'This is one of the most beautifully written stories I have read for a long time. Billy O’Callaghan’s prose paints incredible pictures, not only of the landscape of Ireland but also of emotions.'
  • Lynne Morgan - 'This book hooked me right from the start.'

The Dead House Press Reviews

'A moving work that builds to an elegiac climax and is a welcome voice to the pantheon of new Irish writing.' -- Edna O'Brien

'I know of no writer on either side of the Atlantic who is better at exploring the human spirit under assault ... O'Callaghan is a treasure of the English language.' Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author The Things We Lose, The Things We Leave Behind

'[is a] masterclass in understatement' Dermot Bolger, Irish Independent

'moments of insight and profundity which could only come from the mind of one who has known intimately the heartache and loss experienced by the characters he writes about ... superlative writing' Writerful Books, Australia

If you loved this, you might like these...

A Man Who Is Not a Man
Victoria Park
That Reminds Me
The God Child

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781847178879
Publication date: 01/05/2017
Publisher: Brandon an imprint of O'Brien Press Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781847178879
Publication date: 1st May 2017
Author: Billy O'Callaghan
Publisher: Brandon an imprint of O'Brien Press Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 224 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Relationship Stories, Spine-Chilling Fiction, Thriller / Suspense,
Collections: 90+ books that dare you to take a walk on the dark side., 45 Novels With A Gothic Influence,
Categories: Horror & ghost stories,

About Billy O'Callaghan

Billy O'Callaghan was born in Cork in 1974, and is the author of three previous short story collections: In Exile (2008) and In Too Deep (2009), both published by the Mercier Press, and The Things We Lose, the Things We Leave Behind (2013) published by New Island Books, the title story of which earned him the 2013 Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Award for Short Story of the Year. The recipient of literature bursaries from the Arts Council in 2010 and the Cork County Council in 2015 among several other honours, including the Molly Keane Award and the George A. Birmingham Award, his work has been broadcast ...

More About Billy O'Callaghan

More Books By Billy O'Callaghan

Cover for Life Sentences by Billy O'Callaghan
Cover for Life Sentences by Billy O'Callaghan
Cover for The Boatman and Other Stories by Billy O'Callaghan
View All Books By Billy O'Callaghan

Share this book