CHRIS THOMAS - ENTER THE DARK (2017)


Synopsis/blurb….
A chilling Dark Web thriller
 
An anonymous website, a few clicks, and Joe Henderson’s life is changed forever.
 
‘The Red Room’ is the only place where the failings of a weak justice system are righted and where the line between good and evil becomes blurred. When 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. 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, 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 wrong for a righteous cause.
 
As they pull Joe deeper into the dark web, will he find any mercy or a way out? And could he be the Red Room’s next volunteer?
 
A really engrossing tale with a trip to the dark side of the internet - not somewhere I’m intending to visit in my own web browsing. Apparently the dark net is the haunt of paedophiles, drug dealers, gun runners and the like. Anything and everything for sale, catering to some of the most extreme sexual deviancies. An alternate currency the Bit-coin is the method of payment for these secretive trades.
We have a group of friends out for a drink. After one too many, Billy shows drunk Joe around the dark net and some sites he has been visiting. Joe gets hooked and then does some secretive browsing of his own, getting onto a site where a group of vigilantes host a show requiring audience participation. The Brotherhood of the Righteous offer up criminals who have been lightly treated by the justice system, for online bidding where successful candidates can have the show’s host inflict a torture of their choice, before the ultimate punishment is inflicted.
We spend time with Joe as he gets sucked into the dark alternative world and jeopardises his relationship and career. We spend time in the company of the “Righteous” as they plan their next entertainments and dish out their own special brand of reality TV justice. We cross paths with drug dealers, and pimps and child abusers and wife beaters. We watch as a traumatised and abused teenage girl summons the strength to fight back and flee as well as spending a bit of time with the team of police officers who uncover the goings-on after the disappearance of a couple of child killers is brought to their attention.
I really liked how the author drew the separate strands together and we had a resolution which was satisfying. There were some interesting characters along the way. Joe – naïve, foolish, impulsive, reckless, trapped and in over his head. Daisy - the young abused teenager, battered and bruised but with an inner strength and most definitely not broken. Pete Harris – a cyber-crimes police officer and single parent, juggling the demands of the job with the difficulties of raising a child. And our Brotherhood of the Righteous – a couple of friends unhappy with criminal justice failures and with the finances and capabilities to do something about it.
Interesting questions posed about the whole question of justice and vigilantism. Eye-opening regarding the seamier side of the internet. Some graphic scenes of punishment which might be a bit too strong for some readers.
Overall a really impressive read.
4.5 from 5
Chris Thomas has a website here. (Author page on Bloodhound Books actually.) He is on Twitter - @cthomasauthor1
Read in July 2017
Published – 2017
Page count – 315
Source – review copy received from publisher Bloodhound Books
Format - Kindle

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