Eibhlís Carcione

Children’s Writer & Poet

Welcome to Dead Town Raven McKay

When her parents disappear, 12 -year-old Raven McKay is put into foster care with Kitty Stromsoe in the town of Grave’s Pass. It’s not an ordinary town. It’s a town where the living and the dead live side by side, but few wear their identity on their sleeves.

All her parents have left Raven is a battered beige suitcase with a faded black butterfly sticker and a note saying not to open the suitcase until the right time. But can she resist? And who among the living and the dead are her friends?

Grave’s Pass has two mayors: one for the living and one for the dead — an arrangement that implies that the two know how to live comfortably side by side.

But beneath the surface lurk dark desires, old mistrusts and vivid jealousies.



Most ships don’t moor at Grave’s Pass. They continue their journey on the waves, avoiding the reflection of the town. But some days the sea laps the shore of the town, as if trying to calm some restless, unknown beast. On those days seafaring people find it inviting, but the closer they come, they see something that sends them quickly on their way.

The dark houses with the squinty windows are fastened like limpets and periwinkles to the hill. Above the town there is a yew forest and a graveyard that slopes down to jagged cliffs with caverns and caves. This is why the dead come here. This is why they call it home.


Oh wow, I just adored Dead Town. Read it in two sittings only because I had to go out and then come back to it. So brilliant. I thought it was at root a serious grappling with the meaning of life and death wrapped up in the most original and quirkily delicious of tales. And I could tell Eibhlís is a poet! Lyrical and magical. I can’t wait to see this come out! Thank you so much for an early read. Such an honour and privilege to read this this book.

— Zillah Bethell, Award-winning writer of The Shark Caller, The Song Walker and more

 “Deliciously dark and gorgeously gothic!

— Kieran Larwood – award-winning writer of The Five Realm Series and Carnival of The Lost Series

In her middle-grade debut, poet Eibhlís Carcione infuses the Gothic setting of Grave’s Pass with a lyricism and humour that recalls Neil Gaiman’s work for young readers. However it is the immediacy of the action-driven by Raven’s quest to find her missing parents- that keeps the pages turning in this crackerjack fantasy adventure.” 

—Sara Keating, The Irish Times

Adult readers will appreciate Eibhlís Carcione’s singular gift for language, but this is a book for 10- to 12-year-olds who can expect to be whisked into the heart of a thrilling ghost story. The pacy action is helped along by Ewa Beniak-Haremska’s deliciously gothic illustrations. Prepare to be thrilled, spooked and enthralled.

— Clodagh Finn, The Irish Examiner

An original gothic tale about 12-year-old Raven, who arrives at her third foster home in a town populated by the living and the dead, including banshees and zombies. Displaying a talent for the grotesque, the compelling story is pacey and the prose precise. With illustrations like a modern-day.” Mervyn Peake.

— Times Best Summer reads 2023

There are ghosts everywhere in Grave’s Pass, the setting for poet Eibhlís Carcione’s startlingly good debut novel, Welcome to Dead Town Raven McKay.

Carcione conjures up a sinister atmosphere, whether Raven is shopping for new clothes or entering the darker parts of town in order to find out what happened to her parents. She encounters terrifying goblins, the friendly ghost of a sea captain and sundry supernatural beings. Readers aged eleven and up will be enchanted.

— Philip Womack Literary Review

In this startlingly original gothic ghost story, debut children’s author Eibhlís Carcione pairs thrills and chills with empathy and emotion with such poetic precision and bold simplicity that I devoured this book in one memorable sitting. Simply exceptional.

— Blue Bird Reviews

Teeming with adventure, ghosts and kooky characters, a lyrical, magnetic mystery unfolds as a girl searches for her missing parents.”


“In Welcome to Deadtown Raven McKay, Eibhlís Carcione has created a vivid and wholly original world filled with equal parts, charm and chills. Raven’s new home, Grave’s Pass, is peopled with mythical creatures and spirits with whom you might have a cup of tea or from whom you might run, screaming! Raven’s story is an imaginative adventure, and its creepy twists will keep you guessing till the very end.

— Dan Poblocki, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightmarys, Tales to keep You Up at Night and more

—Achura Book of the Day 4th July 2023-Welcome To Dead Town Raven McKay

 The Hot 100 picks for summer 2023 (The Irish Examiner)  Welcome To Dead Town Raven McKay

The illustrated world of Dead Town, by Ewa Beniak-Haremska

My MG fantasy ghost thriller Welcome To Dead Town Raven McKay is published by Everything With Words

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