The Red Room (Thriller)

Title: The Red Room | Author: Chris Thomas | Publisher: Sentinel Media UK Ltd. | Pub. Date: 02/28/2017 | Pages: 520 | ISBN13: 9780995714601 | Genre: Thriller | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Triggers: Sex slavery, child death (occurs offsides but it’s described later), domestic abuse, torture Source: Received from the author for review consideration

The Red Room

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Red Room.”

An anonymous website, a few clicks, and Joe Henderson’s dull little life changed forever.
‘The Red Room’; an underground show streaming live from the depths of the dark web of the internet. The only place where the inadequacies of a weak justice system are still righted, where the line between good and evil becomes blurred. When the Host puts on his mask and the lights go up, viewers bid, criminals are punished, and the Brotherhood of the Righteous broadcasts a show like no other.
The room has remained hidden until now, when a video arrives in the inbox of the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit: the torture and killing of a notorious criminal. But outclassed, outplayed, and torn apart by corruption, is there anything Detective Pete Harris and his team can do except watch?
Their only lead may be the room’s latest bidder, dull Joe Henderson. Because when Joe found the Red Room, it found him too, and now the Brotherhood are watching through the wires, willing to do evil for a righteous cause, to become the men that even monsters are scared of.
As they pull Joe deeper into the dark web, will he find any mercy, any way out? Or will he be the Red Room’s next volunteer? – Goodreads

First off, I love the cover of The Red Room (except for the clipboard). I was a bit intrigued by the synopsis but honestly? I wasn’t expecting much. I was expecting maybe torture porn type writing and bland as hell characters. I was very wrong. I can see why it might look like it from my trigger warnings at the top but the acts are written well and with no apparent urge to lengthen them out for sensationalism. The Red Room acts are drawn out a bit more but in this book context really does matter. The characters were great and while I can’t say I loved the characters of Joe and Ellie they were average people and fit well into the plot perfectly.

There were a few parts that were a bit predictable. Two separate characters whose stories follow along with the main one but you know that eventually both roads will lead to The Brotherhood and when it does, it’s great. Thrillers are a bit hard to review because of potential plot spoilers, so I won’t go into as much detail as I’d like to.

I honestly can’t say I liked the characters of Joe and Ellie much. I think Joe was kind of an idiot. Ellie wasn’t in the picture much and when she was she was just annoying. Their characters were pretty realistic though. The dialogue flowed smoothly which was especially noticeable with The Brotherhood. A lot of times when you have a group of the uber-rich in a conspiracy setting they all talk like Bond villains, super fancy. There was a little bit of that but for the most part they were pretty casual with each other which was a nice change. As much as I do like The Brotherhood my favorite characters were Daisy and Grace. Daisy’s journey and character was a great one and I loved her ending. Grace, well, she doesn’t have a lot of page time but I like her for…reasons (beyond the obvious). You’ll just have to read the book, I guess.

The pacing flowed smoothly with no real lags or stops. the action builds nicely towards the finish. I was a bit bummed out near the end because a character dies that I liked. That’s all I’m saying about the end. The plot was laid out well with no missteps or illogical weirdness. Chris Thomas did a great job of laying it out in order.

The one thing The Red Room does well is raise questions about the concept of vigilante justice. I think the reasons books like this and Dexter and all of the cop shows is that people want to believe. People want to believe that there are cops out there who are unbiased. Who will go the extra mile to solve your case. And if the law fails, then maybe there are people willing to mete out the justice deserved. But the downside to it is that too often people make up their minds on little to no actual evidence. To me, it’s only justice if it’s 100% that that person did the crime they’re being accused of. And the average citizen does not have the resources for that.

The Red Room circumvents this by having The Brotherhood be conveniently rich so that they can hire people to mete out punishment. (Which would be the only way to have the resources necessary to do what they do). It does also raise the question of the ‘innocence’ of the bidders. The Brotherhood says that the bidders would never turn them in because they’re just as guilty by watching and bidding. Now maybe a lawyer could try to get a conspiracy charge on the bidders but good luck with that. They can always say they thought it was fake. It’s obviously not but in court it would make for a good defense. I’m probably getting off on a tangent here but bear with me. Even if they’re legally innocent what about morally? Even if they’re not taking part in the murders they are watching them with no attempt to stop it. And how does the guilt of the “victims” relate to the moral guilt of the viewers? To me they’re interesting questions with no easy answers.

As far as the ending goes I think it ends perfectly with a nice little twist that I didn’t see coming.

Update: The Red Rom has now been re-released as Enter the Dark by the author.

5 Skulls out of 5


Over the River by October Weeks #BookReview

Title: Over the River | Author: October Weeks | Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing | Pub. Date: 10/24/2017 | Pages: 210 | ASIN: B00G61E5PS | Genre: Paranormal Mystery | Language: English | Triggers: Child death | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for review consideration

Over the River

The horse knows the way

To carry the sleigh

Through the tear and bloodstained snow…

Joslyn Faust passed away in 1940, after losing all but one of her children to death. The Weatherby Mills history books paint her as a kind, generous woman, willing to lend a hand to any one of her neighbors. Weatherby Mills lore, however, blames her ghost for the deaths of at least four men.

That’s where Delilah Isles and Milly West come in.

Working for the New England Spirit Society, the women have seen many violent and cruel attacks by human spirits and non-human entities. After all, the most violent and disturbing cases come to them. They know the myths about Joslyn Faust, so when the case comes their way they are both anxious to start investigating and uncertain whether or not it’s a case for N.E.S.S. But the first time they set foot on the Faust property that uncertainty is vanquished, because Joslyn Faust turns out to be a whole lot darker than they anticipated.

Book cover for Over the River

Over the River Review

There was a lot to like about this book but it did have it’s flaws as well. Let’s start with the good.

The characters were very likable. The dialogue between the friends was very believable and flowed very naturally. They really felt like good friends who had known each other for a long time. The pacing flows nicely. The action is described well. The story was interesting and really pulled me in. I also liked that during the big showdown they actually get hurt and the author spends a page or two to let us know they received medical treatment and were taken care of. No miraculous healing in which the girls felt just fine after a physically and mentally intense battle. So, huge kudos on the realism of that.

However, as I mentioned above, there were a few flaws that were a bit hard to overlook. There was so much left unexplained to it. The backstory between the Tays and the Daltons. There are hints here and there. From what I gathered in Over the River the Tays were holding ghosts to their mountain and more than likely killing some people as well to bind their ghosts to the mountain as well. What is unexplained though is to what purpose. It sounds like it’s for a power thing but for what reason? A bit of background would have gone a long way.

In the reality of Over the River the paranormal seems an accepted fact of life. Realtors are supposed to disclose possible hauntings, local groups are tasked with taking care of the less powerful ghosts and entities. However, when the entity or demon is particularly powerful the N.E.S.S. is called in. They are a “secret” division of the F.B.I.. I use the quotation marks because they don’t seem to be all that “secret”. For instance, they visit the library early so nobody gets nosy. A few things happen because their secret investigation is spread around town.

Some of the world is built well. I personally liked the hospital for people who have, in one way or another, been pushed over the edge by their gifts. It’s a nice touch. Also, the research they do and the bent of their investigation is logical. They access normal research materials and use their F.B.I. liaison to search for less accessible items. All of that lends a nice air of realism to Over the River.

However, again, a bit more information about the group would have been nice. How secret are they? How did it start? Why? There are tidbits here and there but they seemed only thrown in to explain what was going on at the moment but with no further explanation or background.

The next part may deal a bit here and there with plot elements so please highlight the whited out parts if you wish. The property they are researching belonged to one Joslyn Faust. The townspeople remember Joslyn Faust as a benevolent, generous woman


It seems a bit of an implausible explanation and even Delilah and Milly express their doubts about that being the sole cause. But, it’s not gone into further.

Also, their psychic gifts. To do Over the River credit they are explained well. My only problem is that their uses seem to change at will sometimes with little to no explanation.

Boiled down I would say the biggest issue Over the River has (besides using the word baby-daddy far too frequently) is the lack of explanation for so many things. Why was Helen so involved? What exactly is the background relationship between the Tays and Daltons? Some characters are met in passing only to impart information and then are never heard from again.


There seems to be some sort of end game with the presence of the two children who seem unconnected to the Joslyn thing but sinister nonetheless.

However, I’m not crazy about that method of setting up a series. The book in question, at the beginning of a series, should take the time to build the world and set the rules of the world. Even one that’s mostly grounded in reality. It should also answer most of the questions raised in the book while leaving maybe one or two small things to keep the reader hooked. In the case of Over the River, the two demonic/ghost children would have filled that role nicely.  Because I am very curious to know who they are (or what they are). As it stands, I’m frustrated with the lack of explanation or closure with way too much of the book. I don’t need my hand held all the way through but I do need something to go on.

There are also a couple of minor nitpicks that didn’t really diminish my pleasure in reading the book but were a tad irksome just the same. The dialogue between friends that I mentioned above was great. The minor annoyances were when Delilah Dalton and Gabriel Tay (ghost) would speak to each other. It was very melodramatic and the use of, “I’m watching you, Delilah Dalton.” and “You should be warned I’m not giving up, Gabriel Tay” were slightly overdone and melodramatic. By the fifth name thing I was ready to say, “Ok, I got it! She’s a Dalton, he’s a Tay!”
Also (this might just be a personal gripe that most people would overlook) in the middle of a fairly serious meeting of the team Delilah snuggles up on her husband’s lap. I realize they are all good friends but c’mon. It’s more than a little unprofessional.

All in all it’s a light, quick read. As a series starter I might read the next one, especially if the author gets a little better at tying up the loose strands that dangle all over the place. I was very curious about what might come next for the team. Taking a peek at her site it does look like there is a second one which I will probably check out because I did like the people and I think the author has a great potential to smooth out her writing.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Skulls


Title: Over the River | Author: October Weeks site | Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing | Pub. Date: 10/24/2017 | Pages: 210 | ASIN: B00G61E5PS | Genre: Paranormal Mystery | Language: English | Triggers: Child death | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for review consideration | Purchase on Amazon |

Coming Soon: My Life as a Bench by Jaq Hazell

Banner for My Life as a Bench by Jaq Hazell

Shortly after Sci-Fi & Scary got off the ground, I reviewed a mystery/thriller from an indie author named Jaq Hazell. That book was called I Came to Find a Girl. It’s been quite a while since I read that book now, and I still remember how I felt after I was done reading it. It felt like I had a 10 lb weight on my chest. Jaq Hazell is an obviously talented author with the ability to make you feel and think things that aren’t always very comfortable. I was even impressed enough with her that I interviewed her for the site.

So, when she started talking about the new book she was working on, I said I’d be quite happy to help her promote it in some form. I knew whatever it was it was probably going to be good. That book, as it turns out, has a very interesting title. Now, I haven’t read this yet, and it looks to be a major change from I Came to Find a Girl, but with a title like My Life as a Bench, I don’t think I’m going to be able to resist it.

My Life as a Bench by Jaq Hazell

Book cover for My Life as a Bench ‘There are so many benches lining the riverside, each and every one tragic in its own way.’

Ren Miller has died aged seventeen and yet her consciousness lives on, inhabiting her memorial bench by the River Thames in London.

Ren longs to be reunited with her boyfriend Gabe, but soon discovers why he has failed to visit. Devastated, she must learn to break through and talk to the living so she can reveal the truth about her tragic end.

Unique, haunting, and compelling, this is a story about love, friendship, a passion for music and what, if anything, remains after we’ve gone. – Goodreads

Expected Publication Date: May 4th, 2017

Pages: 234 (kindle)

ISBN13: 9780995726802

My Life as a Bench: Goodreads | Amazon 

Early reviews are rolling in on My Life as a Bench, and the consensus seems to be that it’s a nicely-paced story with an awesome premise and definitely has the ability to hit you in the feels.

Sneak Peak of My Life as a Bench:

“There’s a bench by the river with my name on it: Lauren Bethany Miller, it says. Only, no one calls me that. It’s Ren — that’s what it should say.

I knew it was wrong as soon as I arrived, having been unloaded from the back of a truck and positioned on some paving stones.

I’m not stopping here, I said.

The workmen – one old, one young and both dressed in yellow high-visibility vests – had placed me between a large beech tree and and old grey bench.

Excuse me, I said. Hello. Weird they couldn’t hear because they were right in front of me reading the plaque that had been fixed to the bench.” – Jaq Hazell


Find out more about Jaq Hazell at her website ( and join me in wishing her luck with her newest book: My Life as a Bench!

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Walking Distance

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Walking Distance




Martin Sloane – Gig Young
Robert Sloan – Frank Overton
Mrs. Sloan – Irene Tedrow
Young Marty – Michael Montgomery
Wilcox Boy – Ron Howard
Charlie – Byron Folger
Mr. Wilson – Pat O’Malley
Wilcox – Bill Erwin
Soda Jerk – Joe Corey

A sporty little coupe comes hauling ass into a gas station so fast he overshoots the pump and throws up a bunch of dust. He’s obviously in a hurry because he’s honking his horn like crazy at the attendant who’s two feet away. I think he noticed you, dude. If it were my gas station I’d let him have it for pulling in so fast.

Crazy Driver is still honking, even though he can see the guy walking toward him. When the attendant arrives Crazy Driver tosses him some money and tells him to fill it up. As a side note, I wonder whatever happened to full-service stations? Too many robberies?

Continue reading “Twilight Zone Tuesday – Walking Distance”

A Review of He Who Shall Remain Shameless


Continue reading “A Review of He Who Shall Remain Shameless”

Devoted in Death Review (Sci-Fi Police Procedural)

Devoted in DeathDevoted in Death synopsis: When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a body in a downtown Manhattan alleyway, the victim’s injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—and initials inside reading E and D . . .

Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again. Ella-Loo’s got dreams. And Darryl believes there are better ways to achieve your dreams than working for them. So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again.

As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they will leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, she has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve . . . – Goodreads

Continue reading “Devoted in Death Review (Sci-Fi Police Procedural)”

Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter Review (Kids Mystery)

What’s it about?

“Chewy Noh has many problems. Besides his mom becoming a mu-dang—a Korean fortune-teller possessed by his dead grandmother who can read minds—the school bully, Kent, is still on the warpath to get Chewy kicked out of school. With his secret ability to win at everything, none of this bothers him until he starts disappearing for no reason while a mysterious force attacks his fellow students, and he must scramble to figure out what’s going on before he becomes its next and final victim.”

-Goodreads Synopsis

My Review of Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter

Chewy Noh is, first and foremost, a middle-grade mystery dealing with a Korean ghost and a young boy who aces any test or competitions he has. Along the way he learns something unexpected about his cousin, and his family in general.

I won’t lie, this was a bit of a difficult book for me to kick back and enjoy as I do with most children’s books I read. I spent a portion of it being distracted by some of the cultural mentions and their possible significance , and a larger portion of it underlining passages and thinking “Wait, this is a middle-grade book?” Tim Learn does not shy away from dealing with deeper issues in his books, and that is a good thing, but at the same time, I hope that the kids reading these books have parents or peers that they can discuss some of the issues with.

Such issues are: Death, False Accusations, Racism.

There were several things I liked. Namely, the main character was not white, and the author does not make an attempt to white-wash the character. Even if I did feel like I wasn’t really understanding some of the cultural stuff (face size apparently matters?), I appreciated the diversity. That the ‘side-kick’ was a kid with braces on his legs was cool, too. Not only that, but the kid’s braces were never really talked about in a way that would put him as “different”. Instead, they were mentioned casually, exactly the way a child might do if he saw nothing that was a big deal about another kid wearing braces.

The mystery really was a mystery, too. For someone who understands Korean culture, they might have clued in a bit before I did, but as it was, I had to patiently wait for the characters to tell me everything, because I was clueless! To be honest, I still don’t get the “Phantasm of Winter” reference. Probably something I overlooked.

4 Star Rating

Click here to find Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter now on

Title: Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter | Series: Chewy Noh #2 |  Author: Tim Learn (site) | Publisher: CreateSpace | Publication Date: 2015-7-15 | Pages: 312 | ISBN: 1505851459 | Genre(s): Childrens & Mystery | Language: English | Triggers: Death, Racism | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Reblogged BOOK REVIEW – The Three by Sarah Lotz

gave a wonderful review of a book that is definitely on my TBR list at this point. The Three just looks like one of those truly creepy books that’ll leave unsettled and not wanting to put it down until you’re done. (Click on either picture to be taken to the author’s original review.)

From Goodreads: Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he’s right?

Help Me! I need something different to read!

So, as the title of my blog so clearly states, I love scifi and scary stuff. I tend to not branch out much except for the occasional romance or funny piece.

However, sometimes you just need something different.

So here’s my no-nos:

No novels featuring a character dying.

No high-school level kiss-kiss drama novels.

No non-fiction (this obviously includes biographies. Ewww.)

So… anyone have any suggestions?


Pssstt… if you haven’t entered the giveaway for an Audible book or E-book (Your choice), click HERE


Reblogged Awesomeness: Book Review: The Turn of The Screw

Another good book review I thought I’d pass on. Even though the author did not rate it very highly, it sounds like it would be an interesting book, and as she makes a note, it is one that is open to interpretation.  Plus, I just thought it was awesome to see someone reviewing something that had been published before 1900 that I’d never heard of.



Source: Book Review: The Turn of The Screw