Dark Room – Tom Becker


This series is touted as a must for horror fans. I’m not really part of the target market, but I am always looking for good examples of specific genres to recommend to my pupils so I was curious when I found this in the local library.

The cover grabbed my attention, and I thought the blurb promised a lot – teen girl at odds with her environment, strange supernatural visions, a creepy setting and a killer on the loose. I think if you like this kind of story you will race through Dark Room and love it.

The story begins with a macabre scene that explains – a little – the story of Saffron Hills and its terrible obsession with keeping up appearances. Ever since the brutal murder of its teen beauty queen, the townspeople have focused on looking to do the right thing and appearing perfect.

Fast forward to the present, and we meet Darla. She has always regarded herself as plain and something of a misfit. When she and her father end up in Saffron Hills she is immediately at odds with the selfie-obsessed beautiful teenagers of this environment. She finds some ‘outsider’ friends ( which did all feel a little ‘Mean Girls’) and things seem to muddle along tolerably. Then we are told Darla is having visions that give her an insight into the mind of the killer on the loose, slowly picking off the beautiful people in grotesque ways.

While this slasher style graphic violence isn’t the kind of thing I enjoy reading, I can see that this has all the elements you’d want if it is. My main gripe is that the big twist was rather obviously foreshadowed and I’d guessed the killer before we were told who it was. What I hadn’t managed to piece together was some of the finer details and these were all resolved by the end of the novel.