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The Dead Path

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,872 Ratings  ·  289 Reviews
Do you remember the last time a book gave you the chills? The Dead Path is the ghost story we’ve been waiting for.

A haunting vision in the woods sets off a series of tragic events, leaving Nicholas Close lost amid visions of ghosts trapped in their harrowing, final moments. These uniquely terrifying apparitions lead him on a thrilling and suspenseful ride to confront a w
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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E.J. Stevens
Intelligently written paranormal suspense. The Dead Path is a haunting tale of tragedy, loss and all consuming evil. Filled with deftly written prose that will march you steadily along the path of madness into a world of horror that is at once believable and terrifying. Irwin's imagery is vivid and visceral. This is an author not afraid to thrust the reader into a living nightmare. Nicholas Close is a realistic character facing the guilt and sorrow of his wife's recent death, the terror of his n ...more
Dec 14, 2011 Katy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of paranormal/horror
Recommended to Katy by: Vine
Shelves: vine-book
"The Dead Path" is a wonderfully creepy bit of horror given us by a new author - if this is his debut, I think we have some wonderful stories to look forward to in the future!

Nicholas Close has a wonderful life with a beautiful woman in a new flat that they are busily redecorating. Then on rainy night he goes out to go to the market and finds his car "parked in" and decides to take the motorcycle instead. Taking a curve too fast, he is distracted by what appears to be a strange face in the wood
Sep 30, 2014 Bandit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves to be better known. It has received strong reviews, but I've heard nothing of it until coming across it on a library shelf. It's Irwin's debut and a most auspicious debut at that. Genuine work of literary horror. If you like witch stories, if woods frighten you (as they ought to, really, woods are freaking terrifying) this story will profoundly unsettle you. Irwin has done a great job here of putting insidiousness into words, it's a creepy creepy tale that's very well written. ...more
Apr 05, 2011 Erik rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 08, 2012 Doug rated it it was ok
I can’t say The Dead Path didn’t get its hooks into me: I finished the final hundred pages at a single sitting, anxious for one of its characters, in particular, to escape the morass. There are some clever aspects to how it works an old religion into a modern tale; Irwin’ prose is reliably serviceable and occasionally better than that.

But the aspects that annoyed me outweighed those that intrigued me. Even as worry for a character quickened my pulse, I felt manipulated by the specifics of the th
Paul O'Neill
Oct 21, 2015 Paul O'Neill rated it it was amazing
This book was unexpectedly awesome! Can't remember ever reading a book that made me shiver in revulsion (in a good way) so much. Setting is great, characters are real, the scary stuff is hella scary and the ending is well done. What more can you ask for in a horror book?
Kane Gilmour
Jul 04, 2012 Kane Gilmour rated it it was amazing
A 25-Year Single Malt of Spooky

Stephen M. Irwin's supernatural thriller debut, THE DEAD PATH, is without a doubt one of the finest things to come out of Australia in the last twenty years. With a slow, considered burn of a beginning, the story twists a few times before it really gets rolling, and you think you are in for a predictable The Sixth Sense kind of "I See Ghosts" tale. But Irwin has loftier things in store for you. The story moves effortlessly into different territories than where you
The blurbs and recommendations that brought this book to my attention really had me psyched to read it. The cover art is suitably creepy and the fact that this is a debut author from Down Under intrigued me. The Aussies have been doing some pretty memorable things with cinematic horror of late -- let's see what's happening on the page, shall we?

This book starts out so very strong. Irwin can write, make no mistake. There is a fluidity and nimbleness to his prose – a real juiciness - that will mak
Matt Garcia
Jan 30, 2016 Matt Garcia rated it it was amazing
Great suspenseful horror novel filled with eloquently written imagery of the forest and strikingly real characters. Irwin is a superb writer and his prose flows like a river, winding you through his tale filled with emotion and human nature. Fantastic book with an ending that hit me like a ton of bricks.
Nov 28, 2012 Melissa rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2014 amanda rated it it was amazing
Even though I had suspected the ending earlier on, it did not detract its suspense & shock in any way possible. I loved this book; it managed to intrigue me, sadden me, disturb me, & honestly scare me in more ways than one. I do not usually fall prey to anything categorized with the word "horror" anymore, but this one made me quite nervous on more than one occasion. Absolutely loved the protagonist & the handful of characters I was introduced to, & of course, came to despise the ...more
John Wiltshire
Jan 08, 2016 John Wiltshire rated it really liked it
Quite an enjoyable horror novel. There were touches of Stephen King in this: talismans that inextricably defeat evil; secrets children seem to know instinctively. It's beautifully written, although towards the end I was getting just a little weary of the constant metaphors. Not everything has to be like something else, sometimes rain on the pavement can just be rain on the damn pavement. Still, it stands out from most horror because of the writing. I liked the main character. Why am I not raving ...more
Blake Fraina
Sep 09, 2011 Blake Fraina rated it liked it
I’d like to suggest that Stephen M. Irwin’s The Dead Path be categorized as an eco-friendly or "green" horror novel, but to say more than that would give too much away.

It centers on Nicholas Close, a successful thirty-something antiques dealer, who leaves London to return to his native Australia after a freak accident (for which he blames himself) kills his wife. After her death, (and much like the boy in The Sixth Sense) Nicholas sees dead people - ghosts on the very spot where they died, re-e
Mallory Heart Reviews
Feb 17, 2012 Mallory Heart Reviews rated it really liked it
I had great expectations for this novel, and they were nearly fulfilled. The story has a fantastic premise and plot line, good Supernatural effects, and that lovely interweaving of history that I enjoy so much. I think perhaps what distracted me is the setting-I know so little about Australia, and the author’s incredibly detailed references to and recognition of local fauna (and perhaps slang) had me constantly wishing I was reading on Kindle rather than in a hardcover print copy, so that I woul ...more
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
This is the creepiest looking book that I own. I bought it when Borders went out of business in 2011 and have been wanting to read it for quite some time. I did not realize when I bought the book that the dust jacket glows in the dark, but I found out quick enough. I have some books in the living room and some books in the bedroom. Since I moved into my new place in 2013, I have kept this book in the living room so that I can sleep better at night without the title words THE DEAD PATH glowing in ...more
Aug 02, 2011 Peggy rated it really liked it
The first flat-out horror book that I've read in a while, The Dead Path really keeps you hooked. It's fast-moving and admirably creepy (and the book cover glows disturbingly in the dark). After a short stint in London, the bulk of the book takes place in Australia, and Irwin is adept at putting a plot that involves the highly British legends of the Green Man into the more rough-and-tumble Aussie language and setting. One thing—if you have a problem with spiders, you might want to give this one a ...more
Holy spiders, this book was freaky! It took me a little while to get into the author's style, which relies too heavily on metaphors and odd examples, but once I did, I was hooked enough to read it in two sittings. But the ending threw me a little -- I'm not always a fan of the "The End...Or Is It?" style, and this one confused me a little bit. Overall, though, a great read for horror fans, especially ones interested in pagan rituals, creepy woods, ghosts and hauntings, and way-too-sentient spide ...more
Oct 04, 2010 Sharon rated it it was amazing
To me, this book was more of a supernatural thriller than true horror. Delivering a deliciously good read, The Dead Path will appeal to a broad range of readers including horror, thriller, supernatural, drama and crime lovers. It's always great to discover a new author who has the potential to become a lifelong favourite. If his next book is as good as his first, Stephen M Irwin will certainly join those ranks for me (and I am sure, many others!)
Douglas Lord
Oct 22, 2015 Douglas Lord rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this scary-ass book down, literally; the cover seeps super glue. They say Walt Disney had a simple method: get the audience comfortable, then bring out the witch. Well, Irwin's witch is one mean demon, and he also lets readers care just a little too much about characters before he snuffs 'em out. The story follows a sick-of-life Australian widower, Nicholas, who has the balls to follow his creepy second-sight visions to wherever they lead. Where would that be? Oooh, how about craw ...more
Emily Crow
Plot: after inadvertently causing the death of his wife, Nicholas Close returns home to Australia, and becomes embroiled in the recurring saga of children being lured to their deaths in the mysterious, foreboding woods by his mother's house. On the plus side: the writing is smooth and confident, especially for a first novel, and the story is fast-paced and kept my interest to the end. But, while it wasn't a bad novel--and I would read another book by this author if the story sounded intriguing-- ...more
Sep 30, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing
Great thriller - truly haunting. Some scenes stayed with me for weeks with a very memorable villain.
This novel was a huge surprise for me. I had never heard of Irwin before, much less read one of his novels. I must say, I am VERY glad my local library has finally gotten a copy of this novel, so I can sing its virtues.
Gorgeous prose and an easy "voice" made this novel a real treat to dip into. I was immediately spell-bound, and thirsty for more... And yes, I am a HUGE arachnophobe. It doesn't bother me, reading about so many spiders. I am confused as to why it bothered others as badly.
The minut
Daniel Rudge
Feb 11, 2014 Daniel Rudge rated it liked it
The debut novel from Steven Irwin introduces us to all the things that scare us as a child. This book has witches, spiders, murders and dark things in the woods. Unfortunately, this is a book written for adults so much of the spook factor is lost on the reader. While I have a fear of arachnids, this book didn't really set my fears on edge. While a central part of the plot, these spiders came across as more cartoonish then monsters. The story centers on Nicholas Close who goes for a motorcycle ri ...more
Jan 19, 2011 Danielle rated it liked it
This well-paced and spider-licious tale is the sort of horror story that sent me scrabbling for the library catalogue to request anything else by the author - only to find that it's a debut novel! It sure reads like something written by someone with a few more novels under his belt.
First and foremost, I liked the characters, my litmus test for horror. If you don't like the characters, who's going to care if they get dragged off into the dark, dark woods? I was even tempted to skip to the end to
Jun 10, 2011 Cornerofmadness rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, horror
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 08, 2011 Tricia rated it liked it
The Dead Path
By: Stephen M. Irwin

This is a debut novel by Stephen M. Irwin, from Australia, released in the USA. The Darkening is the UK title released in 2009.

After the death of his wife, Nicholas Close sees dead people reliving their demise over and over till he looks away. Shortly thereafter, Nicholas moves home to Brisbane for comfort but finds memories of places and people to be unsettling. Even more biting, the recent abduction of a child brings painful memories of his childhood friend.
Apr 03, 2011 Lyssa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 21, 2012 Ryan rated it liked it
The Dead Path
Stephen M. Irwin
Hardback, 384 pgs.

I had needed a break from the rich tapestry of Martin and I found this during my local Boarders going out of business sale which offered 70% off hard backs. Why not? I never read horror and Fall was approaching rapidly. I had picked up a decent amount of Halloween reading but I don’t think I will get to the bulk of it until November once I have closed out a "Song of Ice and Fire." Oh well, that is why I have a stack of books.

On a side note, I need
Robert Beveridge
Stephen M. Irwin, The Dead Path (Doubleday, 2010)

Full disclosure: this book was provided to me free of charge by Amazon Vine.

I finished The Dead Path on June 10, 2011. I swear up and down on a stack of Vine books that I reviewed it a couple of days afterwards, but I can find neither hide nor hair of said review in my drafts document, and Amazon still has it listed as unreviewed, so I must have dreamed writing it. (I should have kept going and dreamed y'all gave me three hundred helpful votes, or
Misty Baker
Jan 06, 2012 Misty Baker rated it really liked it
Everyone has their reason’s for loving certain genres of literature. Maybe you are a fan of “romance” because you live for happy endings, maybe you like “paranormals” because you get enough of “reality” in your “real life.” Or maybe, just maybe…you are one of those people that like to read celebrity memoirs simply because, 9 times out of 10, they reinforce the thought that (despite not getting that new pair of Air Jordan’s in the 5th grade) you did indeed have a spectacular childhood.

Me? I’m the
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Stephen has a background in film and documentary production, and continues to develop stories and screenplays for film and television producers. Stephen's short films and short stories have won awards and competitions around the world. He is the author of thrillers The Dead Path and The Broken Ones. He lives in Brisbane with his wife, two young children, and black cat. He regularly checks his d ...more
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“Laine slowly rolled out of bed. The queen size was one of the few new things in the house. But now, even the new bed felt tainted. It was an inner-spring monument to lies, a petri dish of mendacity she had shared with her faithless husband, and shared now with creeping dreams that flew from the light but left harsh scratches and diseased black feathers. Laine promised herself that, as soon as, she could, she would rid herself of this house, this bed, her clothes, her jewelry - everything but the flesh she lived in. She would scrub herself clean and flee to start a new life whose first and only commandment would be: Never let thyself be lied to again.” 17 likes
“Tears sprang from her eyes and she bit her lip to stop herself from howling at the bright pain.” 13 likes
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