Netted – The Beginning (The Silent Red Room Saga Book #1) by K.T. Rose
**Thank you to Booksprout for an ARC in exchange for an honest review**
WARNING: This book deals with the delicate subject matter of human trafficking and the Darknet
There is a lot to unpack with this book despite it’s relatively short page length. For some reason even after reading the description I wasn’t fully prepared for what the story would deliver and even after I began reading it I still felt unprepared. If there is one thing that can send cold shivers down my spine it is the thought of the Darknet and the fact that it is actually a real thing. I have read plenty of things and listened to a number of crime podcasts that deal with this subject matter, but no matter how many times it is brought forward into my plane of understanding it still leaves me weak with nausea.
Granted, I would hope that K.T. Rose wrote Netted – The Beginning from a purely fictional point of view, but that’s the thing with this subject matter, you never really know for sure. I give kudos to her for taking on something such as this with that horrifying fact in mind and I am sure I won’t be the only reader who thinks so.
We start with the character of Dale. Dale just ended his long term relationship with his high school sweetheart because he didn’t listen to Beyonce’ and put a ring on it. In order to overcome this slump in his love life he turns to online dating via a phone app. If there was ever a circumstance that would make me thankful my dating app experience didn’t turn ugly, this is it. He meets a girl named Marla who seems to genuinely get him, over the phone at least. However, things quickly change when they decide to meet in person.
GOOD POINT: This book gave a pretty clear example as to why you must always be weary when meeting a new person from an online dating app. Here’s some advice, never ever meet for a first date at someone’s home first! Even if you just plan on hooking up, your life is worth meeting them in a coffee shop or bar before heading to a stranger’s house.
To cut the dramatics, Marla ends up being a crazy person, but not just any crazy person. She is a crazy person who it appears is payed to kidnap people. This is what she attempts to do with Dale, but by some miracle he escapes, but not without the scars of the encounter.
From here we jump to the character of Jessica. Jessica is a high school student who doesn’t give a shit that one of her classmates just committed suicide due to cyber bullying. Jessica is a real piece of work and to me was not a redeemable character. I can’t even class her into being a lovable antagonist, she is pretty much evil incarnate. This is exacerbated by her infatuation with the online persona of Father Paul, a deviant who stalks the Darknet in his own private room called “The Silent Red Room.” She idolizes him and what he does to other human beings to an almost disgusting degree, proving that the root of all evil comes down to not having a single drop of empathy within you.
GOOD POINT: As much as the beginning of Jessica’s story creeped me out and despite the parallels to the movie “Unfriended” I enjoyed the story telling. I felt that this one read more like a true modern horror story and I liked that feeling. I almost feel that Rose’s talent lies in writing villains.
Initially I thought the back and forth of the two stories was odd as it read as two similar, but very separate horror stories. The combining of the stories wasn’t clear until the end, which I think naturally was the point. Though the subject matter as a whole was disturbing, the ending was nothing spectacular. I was able to come to the conclusion before it happened, though I was pleasantly surprised by a few things.
Rose knows how to weave a good horror story and I think it is made very clear here. Though this story is shorter than most it packs a punch that, if you are not used to stories such as these, can leave you reeling. I think the prose flowed well, but perhaps not so much when switching back and forth between the two characters POV, but the story wasn’t lost in those transitions. I’m willing to admit this may be my own preference shining through.
I’m curious about what might happen next to these characters.
BAD POINT: Sadistic Priests
4 Out of 5 Stars
You Should Also Watch: