Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Secret Life of Souls” as Want to Read:
The Secret Life of Souls
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Secret Life of Souls

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  564 ratings  ·  139 reviews
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 auth
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 8th 2016 by Pegasus Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Secret Life of Souls, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Secret Life of Souls

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  564 ratings  ·  139 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Secret Life of Souls
What an incredible read!

I've loved the work of Jack Ketchum ever since I read his book The Girl Next Door. In The Secret Life of Souls Jack teams up once again with Lucky McKee and together, they knock this one right out of the park.

The Cross family is as dysfunctional as they come. Pat and Bart, (mom and dad), are busy trying to make their daughter Delia a star and her brother Robbie is mostly ignored. The family dog Caity more or less belongs to Delia alone, and it doesn't take long for the
Laurie  |  LOHF
This review and the rest of the crap I write can be seen @ my blog Bark's Book Nonsense . Stop by and say hey.

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
Holy Dysfunctional Family Nightmare ! Dog people will love this tale of a dog's love and connection to humans.
There are some seriously deplorable characters inside this book. I was so appalled, livid, angry, furious at them I had trouble turning my ming off when I set the book down. The author is a genius in his ability to drive me to the emotional edge. I felt like I'd walked over hot coals but didn't get burned.
Delia, is a child actor, managed by her power hungry mother, overlooked by her spen
Janie C.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had the good fortune to win this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

This story had a hold on me immediately. It revolves around a family whose daughter is a rising child star. The mother makes sure that the eleven-year-old is always on time for screenings and interviews, encouraging her to look and act perfectly. Delia, the daughter, is a likeable and easy-going child who takes her busy lifestyle in stride. Her twin brother, Robbie, is constantly in the background, yet he can see how their parents a
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is most difficult to categorize.
Not horror. But horrific at times.
Drama elements, for sure.
Suspense, definitely.
And a suggestion of the supernatural.
So, what is it then?
A tragic, heartbreaking, tale of revenge, loss, life and love.
And a young girl and her amazing dog.

“Good dog.”

*I receive an advanced reader copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This was it.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The first time I ever laid eyes on The Secret Life of Souls, I actually thought it would be a contemporary feel-good story about dogs. But then again, I’ve also never read a Jack Ketchum novel before, and was completely unfamiliar with his work. A quick search on Goodreads brought me to his author bio (which proudly proclaims that his first book Off Season was once scolded by the Village Voice for being “violent pornograph
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This book was beautiful and haunting, yet nasty and disturbing all at the same time. While I loved the writing and the immediate connection I felt with Delia and Caity, I am once again faced with the fact that some of the most horrific "creatures" in horror tales are humans themselves. The story centers around Delia Cross, a child actor, her twin brother Robbie, and her parents Patricia and Bart. Delia has grown up in front of the camera and early on, the reader is quite aware that the family is ...more
Angel Gelique
What a beautiful story.

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

Eleven-year-old Delia Cross is a talented, budding young actress. She lives with her twin brother, Robbie, who is largely neglected, her father, Bart, whose main priority is acquiring expensive man-toys and her mother, Pat, a selfish, greedy, uncaring, poor excuse for a parent who's living vicariously through her daughter. Delia also lives with her cherished and much beloved four-legged companion, Caity.

To say that the fam
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, review-copy
The Secret Life of Souls is one of the books I've been wanting to go back and give a proper review. It was released during my complete internet hiatus (November was an ugly month), but I've also had a hard time writing a review for it. It's a pretty short book, and all the things I love about it are tied to events in the story that I don't want to give away. I will just have to gush about it on the whole.

First of all, this is obviously a dog book. When I heard Jack Ketchum wrote a book about a g
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“The Secret Life of Souls” is categorized as horror, but I don’t think that is quite accurate. Terrifying, yes, but not in the way the term horror would make you believe.

If you’re a dog lover, and enjoy reading books that can be tense and uncomfortable, this is the book for you. The characters are engaging, the plot is steady, and the emotional resonance is strong. My only complaint is that I wish the various points of view had a smoother transition.

Don’t hesitate to pick “The Secret Life of Sou
11811 (Eleven)
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great. Now, I wanna get a dog. Thanks, Ketchum.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible story. Seriously, I'm going to suggest you read up on the synopsis, but this story follows the Cross family, in all their fucked up glory. Well, it's mostly the parents that are messed up, and these kids and this dog deserved so much better.

Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee have created something really special here. The story, not only incredibly well written, doesn't sacrifice anything to make a certain part of this book better. The characters are so complete and dynamic, they f
The Behrg
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The Secret Life of Souls" is a cleverly spun tragedy piece, and your heart will be breaking by the end of it. A window into a functioning dysfunctional family and the small decisions that lead to unimaginable consequences.

The characterizations were strong and believable and, having grown up as a "child actor", I loved the glimpse into the entertainment industry and the quiet implications of what it does to people. The other thing I loved about this was that there was no real villain, only woun
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Single best book I've read this year! ...more
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it

The nitty-gritty: A strange, sometimes violent and unexpectedly emotional thriller about a family unable to cope with tragedy.

I have to admit the blurb on the dust jacket of this book initially grabbed my attention because a) it’s by Stephen King and b) he mentions one of my favorite books EVER—The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I also have to admit I’ve never read a Jack Ketchum book before, and even though I own one of his most well-known novels, Off Season, I’ve never read it (frankly, I’m a little

Tracy Robinson
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. This is the third book I’ve read by Ketchum, this time with the inclusion of Lucky McKee whom I haven’t read before.

I loved this. A story about the power of the soul and the bond between a dog and her human is juxtaposed with two of the most despicable parents I’ve ever read about. I hated them. HATED THEM. Delia and Caity, though? They will remain in my heart for quite some time to come. This is an effortless read and an emotional one.

Haven’t read Ketchum before? Been leery of readin
Reeda Booke
Wow!! Yep, that's all I'm going to say.
Just read it, you'll understand. I don't want to give anything away.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book ended up being quite good despite my most impatient comments. I didn’t enjoy the family pursuits for fame, but the family dynamics were truly interesting if not downright diabolical at times. The ending was my favorite!! I’m not going to divulge too much as you’ve really just have to experience it on your own.
Alexis Crawford
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this book in under 8 hours. If that doesn't tell you how addicting it is, I don't know what will. This family-centered drama delves into the relationships we have with ourselves and others as well as how far we as humans are willing to go to protect ourselves. The real "villain" will shock you...the redeemable character will prick that cold heart you're left with in the end. And the dog? Can I adopt her, please?Overall, a fascinating and incredibly insightful look at one family's experien ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm glad I knew nothing of the book going in. It does take a little time to kick in but once it did I had a hard time putting it down. Essentially, this is Cujo, but the dog owners are the ones with rabies. Disgusting, greedy, superficial, materialistic rabies. Good on you, Caity! ...more
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Right at the top, I will say that Jack Ketchum is in my top five of favorite authors. If that makes me too biased to leave my feelings about the novel, feel free to skip it.

I was very excited to read this advance copy, but it took me a while to start it. Ketchum's books are usually emotionally exhausting, and sometimes I don't feel up for it. The Secret Life of Souls is not a fun read, but ultimately a rewarding one.

It is hard to figure out what to say about the book without revealing something
Reindert Van Zwaal
Wow, this book is so special, in multiple ways. The writing style is special, as the story is not written from one perspective but hovers a bit between being told by different characters and a story teller. Part of the story is viewed from the dogs perspective, this is done in a terrific way, it doesn't seem strange one single time. The writer is perfectly able to convey the animal's emotion and describes it stunningly striking. Part of the book is a mystery and paranormal aspect, about which li ...more
Daniel Barnett
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Utterly unlike anything I have ever read. Bold, beautiful, infuriating, and a whole bunch of other adjectives that all add up to: why aren't more people talking about this book? Maybe because Jack Ketchum's name and reputation jar with the cover, which, frankly, looks a little Lifetime. I get the feeling the marketing team overcompensated on the pretty stuff to make people understand this isn't horror . . . but it is. The kind of horror that doesn't conform to any conventions, that doesn't requi ...more
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs
Thanks to Netgalley and Pegasus Books for early access to this title.

Wow! this is a bit of a hurricane of a book! Parts of it were a little over the top, but I really liked the characterizations (even the rotten people are great to read) and I LOVED the dog. Its a bit hard to place in a genre, but maybe magical realism? I very much liked the relationship of Delia with Caity, and thought the ending was quite satisfying. Not a read for everyone, but a fast-paced, can't-put-down kind of book
Patrick Lacey
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my absolute favorites from Ketchum and by far my favorite of his books co-written with McKee. This book ruined me in the best possibly way. And that ending!
I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway. I so wanted to love this book, but I just didn't. I really liked Part I, which is what earned the second star on the rating. The characters and plot pulled me in and it went somewhere real interesting.

Then Part II opened up. Ok--not too bad. Still interesting; starting to have moments of shakiness and not too sure I'm really all that interested in where it's going, but I'm still plugging along thinking about where this might be headed. The ending of this segm
Connie Anderson
I love Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee for giving us Caity, Wiggle Butt. What a highly emotional book. I had tears spilling down my face at times. The premise starts with Delia Cross, a young actress who finally landed a leading role on a tv show. Then something goes seriously wrong. The book is written in the third person combined with first person by the thoughts of the beautiful Queensland Heeler, who is Delia's world. There might be a little first person by Delia's demented mother, as well.

Paul Anderson
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Knowing that this was the last Ketchum novel tinged the reading with more than a little sadness, which actually worked out because this story of a girl and her dog and the intrusion of the outside world became more poignant, more effective, with that foreknowledge. You'll love certain characters and hate others and that's deliberate. Ketchum and his collaborator Lucky McKee made short, punchy work of what could've been a maudlin drama...or a complete train wreck. Their styles blended perfectly a ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I've read numerous books by Ketchum and have really enjoyed them. Particularly his novels that are more grounded in real life like Red and The Girl Next Door. The Secret Life of Souls pulls a lot of the same strings. Not at all as brutal as some of Ketchum's writing but there are a few scenes that lay it all out there and they seam all the more horrific because the characters feel so real.

Delia and her dog Katie are fantastic. Highly recommend this novel to horror lovers, drama lovers, or just
Rachel Bea
I loved this book :)
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The New York Times I Love Tuesday Crossword Puzzles: 50 Easy Puzzles
  • Elsewhere
  • Wormwood
  • The Secret Pearl
  • The Only Good Indians
  • So-Called Normal: A Memoir of Family, Depression and Resilience
  • Saving Marty
  • Harold's Hungry Eyes
  • Émotifs talentueux
  • My Husband's Wife (No Greater Strength, #4)
  • Night of the Mannequins
  • Clown in a Cornfield
  • Les îles Phoenix
  • The Office of Historical Corrections
  • Malorie (Bird Box, #2)
  • The Loop
  • Annabelle (Charlie Lager, #1)
  • Brother
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Dallas William Mayr, better known by his pen name Jack Ketchum, was an American horror fiction author. He was the recipient of four Bram Stoker Awards and three further nominations. His novels included Off Season, Offspring, and Red, which were adapted to film. In 2011, Ketchum received the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award for outstanding contribution to the horror genre.

A onetime actor,

Related Articles

Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
167 likes · 92 comments