Review Blog

Sep 15 2016

Dark room by Tom Becker

cover image

Red Eye series. Stripes Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9781847154576
(Age: 14+) Horror. Warning on back cover: Not for younger readers. Darla hopes that she will have a new life when she and her alcoholic father move to Saffron Hills. But life is not easy at the local high school where the students are obsessed with beauty and image. Then Darla begins to have terrifying visions of people being murdered. It seems that there is a serial killer on the loose. Nicknamed the Selfie Slayer, the killer likes to display the selfies and other pictures of his victims.
This has all the hallmarks of an engrossing if gory, read for teens - a girl who can see into the future, a serial killer who takes photos, gorgeous girls and handsome boys and many red herrings leaving false trails about the identity of the killer. Graphic descriptions of the murders are not for the faint-hearted, but the suspense keeps the reader on the edge of the seat until the mostly surprise conclusion - although there were a few clues tossed about on the way.
Darla and her father are well fleshed out as characters, and the supporting cast of Sasha and her sidekick Frank are interesting characters, but the action and suspense as Darla's visions become gruesome reality are the most important and vivid aspects of Dark room.
This is a story that may appeal to reluctant readers as well as to fans of the horror genre since the narrative makes for a relatively easy but scary read. The use of social media, cyberbullying, and selfies make it relevant and contemporary as well.
Pat Pledger

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