The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee

The Secret LIfe of Souls by Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee
Dark Fiction
At the heart of this psychological suspense novel is the haunting depiction of a family’s fall and the extraordinary gifted dog, Caity, who knows the truth. As the drama unfolds Caity evolves from protector to savior, from scapegoat to prop, and eventually, from avenger to survivor. She is an unselfish soul in a selfish world—and she is written with depth and grace by authors Ketchum and Mckee, who display a profound understanding of a dog’s complex emotions. With her telling instincts and her capacity for joy and transformative love, Caity joins the pantheon of great dogs in contemporary literature.  

Eleven year old actress Delia Cross is beautiful, talented, charismatic. A true a star in the making. Her days are a blur of hard work on ­set, auditions and tutors. Her family—driven, pill­-popping stage mother Pat, wastrel dad Bart, and introverted twin brother Robbie—depends on her for their upscale lifestyle. Delia in turn depends on Caity, her beloved ginger Queensland Heeler—and loyal friend—for the calming private space they share. Delia is on the verge of a professional break through. But just as the contracts are about to be signed, there is a freak accident that puts Delia in the danger zone with only Caity to protect her.
Having read Ketchum’s work in the past and watching a few of Lucky McKee's films (May is a must-see, btw), I pretty much read this book with my heart in my throat while I waited for the ball to drop on my head and I was not at all disappointed!

This is a not a feel-good story. Don’t let that lovely cover fool you. It is a story about two terrible, self-absorbed, materialistic people who never should’ve had children. But they did. Twins in fact. Now the twins are eleven and Delia, an actress, is their beautiful little money maker. Robbie is basically ignored while their stage mom drags Delia from job to job to keep up with their luxurious lifestyle and to keep herself supplied in alcohol. Dad stays home and buys himself expensive toys.

Ugh, I DESPISE these people. You will too. But you’re supposed to, so don’t feel bad about it. I sure don’t.

Delia’s only friend is her beloved dog Caity who has her own point of view. Caity is an amazing, fully fleshed out character. Their bond is super tight and extraordinary. It is also beautifully written and completely believable. Terrible things happen, as they do in a Ketchum novel, and I’m not going to spoil any of them. Just know that you will cry even if you think you’re too tough for that and when the story ends you will feel raw, as if you’ve been turned inside out and all of your nerve ending are now exposed. But you will not regret reading through the tough bits to get to the unforgettable end. Trust me on this.

I loved this book. Books like this are the reason I keep reading through all of the “meh” ones. It is absolutely deserving of all five stars. Delia and Caity will forever be in my heart. Now I’ve got to go and hug my dogs before I get all weepy again.

We are here. We together. We are not alone.

*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. Thanks Netgalley :)


  1. This is at the top of my next book to buy list. I've enjoyed several books by Ketchum so I have a good idea what I'm in for!

    1. I hope you enjoy it Laura but I'm pretty certain you will!

    2. Yes, go grab it as soon as you can Laura!

  2. I cry at anything in books but I always steer clear of anything that even suggests possible cruelty to dogs! I'm a woose!

    1. This one has some cruelty to both kids and dogs but it was a beautiful read.

  3. Yep, definitely a hgo hug your dog book. It is rare that I find such an ugly book so beautiful but I simply know no better way to describe this. Wonderful review!

    1. Thanks Barb. It was so hard to read some of it and one scene truly shocked me but it was so beautiful in the end. If he releases it on audio I'm going to keep it with me always.

  4. Hmm - not sure I want to read something so dark with hate-able characters. I may eye it more if it is released in audio. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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