Sunday 6 September 2015

Dark Room by Tom Becker

Walter West was placing the final picture into his new photograph album when he hear the delicate chime of the doorbell. Frowning at the interruption, he checked that the photograph was aligned perfectly before closing the album. He walked up the steps out of his basement studio, blinking in the light as he emerged into a grand hallway lined with large windows. Opening the front door, Walter saw a girl standing on the step outside.
Published by Red Eye, an imprint of Stripes Publishing in September 2015
Pages - 394

When Darla and her feckless dad, Hopper, move to Saffron Hills, Darla hopes it'll be a new start for the both of them. But she stands no chance of fitting in with the image-obsessed in-crowd at her new school. Then one of her classmates is brutally killed when taking a photo of herself. A murder Darla herself predicted in a bloody vision. When more teens die in a similar fashion it appears that a serial killer is on the loose - the 'Selfie Slayer'. Darla alone is convinced that the murderer might not be flesh and blood...
Reviewed by Vivienne Dacosta

I really think Stripes have hit on a gap in the YA market with these older YA horror novels. I've read a few of the books in the series and Dark Rooms is definitely my favourite so far.It reminded me of the Richard Laymon mystery / horror novels I used to read when I was a teenager, so it was brilliant to see a modern day version of this type of book. 

This book is set in the Deep South of America and has smatterings of Nashville about it. I love the clash between the rich and powerful Southern families and the families considered to be trailer trash. Darla is a brilliant character - the feisty new girl from the wrong side of town who definitely doesn't fit in. If I'm honest, I didn't buy into her visions about the murders and I felt that this gave the book a little bit of a paranormal feel that it really didn't need. Having said, since reading the last few pages, I can see why she had them and it definitely didn't spoil my enjoyment of the novel.

I had no idea who the killer was until the last couple of chapters, so I'm very impressed with the author's plot journey to the big reveal. I realised early on in the novel who the next victim would be, as the point of view would change from Darla's to the person who was about to die. In the chapter leading to the last death, I was so hoping it wouldn't happen!

I loved the inclusion of social media as part of the plot. The use of Instagram and blogs to show off photos that were taken was brilliant. 

If you are looking for a scary book along the lines of I Know What You Did Last Summer, then this is the book for you. 

Make sure you pop back later for a guest post from the author of Dark Room, Tom Becker.

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