Review: Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.

When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building. Ivy’s not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf’s deadly game?

Title: Return to the Dark House (Dark House #2)
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Publication date: July 21, 2015

This review contains spoilers for Welcome to the Dark House, the first book in the series. I actually don’t have a whole lot to say about Return to the Dark House. Read my review of Welcome to the Dark House from last October. Everything I said there still holds. It’s a book that reads like a horror movie and I loved it.

Fresh out of a mental hospital, Ivy wants the police to investigate the Dark House/Nightmare Elf case. They have no new leads and are tired of her frequent visits, so Ivy decides to do it on her own. She meets up with Taylor, the one person to have escaped the whole thing before anything truly happened, and this leads them to an abandoned mansion/boarding school and another terrifying night.

I really like the interaction between Ivy and Taylor. It would have been easy for her to let Ivy go alone, but Taylor has her own reasons for wanting to go with Ivy. While Ivy and those who stayed obviously faced a bigger ordeal, Taylor is having a hard time too. Some people even blame her for the deaths from that night. Ivy is single-minded in her quest to find out the truth, but Taylor provides some balance. She isn’t quite as emotionally involved so she’s able to look at things more logically. Some of that, a lot of it, is probably just fear, but even in the first book, she was smart enough to GET OUT. Ivy, on the other hand, does all the dumb things people do in horror movies that usually end up getting them killed.

Return to the Dark House answers a few questions from the first book. We learn what caused Taylor to flee the house that first day and why this is all happening. I don’t see anything on Goodreads about a third book, but the way the ending is left, there’s definitely more story to be told.

five stars



  1. I have the first book. I really need to finish it so I can get to this one.
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  2. Stephanie says:

    I’m so glad to hear this was good! I’m thinking of re-reading the first one before I start this.

  3. I really need to read this one! After I finished Welcome to the Dark House I didn’t think I would go on with the series, but then when I saw this I knew I had to continue!
    Jill the OWL recently posted…Stacking the ShelvesMy Profile

  4. I agree with so much here. I loved the first book better than the second but i still enjoyed the second.
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