Just lately, my posts have centred around my journey to find and work with Beta Readers – but I’m not just a taker. I’m also happy to play the part of Beta Reader myself. Sometimes it’s a straight swap, like a covert drug deal.

“I’ll read yours, if you read mine.”

Other times, I’ll see a post looking for a Beta that catches my eye. ‘Red’ was one of the latter.

Listed as extreme horror, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I have a strong stomach, gore and mess don’t scare me at all – but if you’ve ever seen a million horror movies, like me, you will know more oft than not, the whole plot thing is sorely lacking. And the plot is what I turn up for.

But on the original post, this one actually sounded pretty intriguing – and I’m a real sucker for someone telling me I should think twice about reading something, because the content may offend. So naturally, I offered my Beta services.

I have to say, I was far from disappointed. Yes, I found I could stomach what I was reading rather nicely actually – but I’m told I’m a pretty sick son of a bitch anyway so I’d expected no different. What I hadn’t expected, was all that lovely, lovely plot.

‘Red’ is told in a first person POV, again, not something I’m all that big on, I’m a traditional girl at heart. The tale follows Todd and it’s a frankly, frightening look at the world through the eyes of one messed up guy. Todd is a bit of a collector – collecting both interesting weapons (I’ll save what he does with those weapons for you to find out yourselves – but let me just say, ouch!) and what Todd calls, his princesses.

Coloured by a pretty rocky start in life, you can see why the guy might have ended up all messed up. I wouldn’t say I sympathised with him, he was a sick fuck, but there’s enough there that you can still relate to and feel a part of what is going on in the story, as well as being able to see the world in an entirely new way. Or at least, I hope for most people it is a new way of seeing the world… *shivers*

The gore is there – but I found it to be understated in the way it was written. Instead of seeing the tale through an often, distracting veil of blood, it was more like decoration – serving to embellish the story rather than take away from it or worse, take it over all together.

For me, the novella was three hours reading time and I’m a pretty fast reader. But that three-hour period was not broken up by the rest of my life. You know… reading it a bit and then putting it aside until I could find a minute later in the day. Instead, my life took a back seat. The tale intrigued me from the off and I genuinely couldn’t set it down until I reached the end, I just wasn’t able to walk away from it.

And let me tell you, the cunning little twist at the end… it came out of nowhere and floored me. For me, that was pretty damn amazing. I’m one of those ridiculous, annoying people who you will sit down beside to watch a who-dunnit and I will know (not predict, KNOW) who the murderer is and why they did it, ridiculously early. Sorry about that. But this one? I was completely blind-sided, I really didn’t see it coming. Not even a little bit.

And was I disappointed that my talent for deduction had eluded me? Hell no. I was delighted. It made my commitment to the novella well worth it and I implore you, if you are a deductive soul like me who enjoys the thrill of knowing how the story ends before you get there – go and read it. I’d love to know if it catches you out too.

This probably isn’t something people ordinarily do at the end of a book review – I have no idea but I’m doing it anyway. I wanted to share a little about the author. I should also point out that this isn’t a friend of mine that’s written a book and I’m here to shamelessly plug it for them, I’ve never met her in my life and I’m never likely to. But I honestly believe D. J Doyle is a name to look out for in the future.

I stumbled across her bio on her author profile on Amazon and I just had to share this with you.

“D.J. Doyle is the author of The Celtic Curse: Banshee. She was raised by pot smoking hippies and spent her days worshipping pagan deities in the HellFire Club and her nights watching horror movies. She now lives with her family in a treehouse, preying on unsuspecting travellers, and where she likes nothing better than coming up with ideas for new stories and plotting her next novel. Some of this might have been made up. To learn more about D.J. Doyle, her website can be found at http://djdoyleauthor.com and her official facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/DJDoyleAuthor/

If you still don’t want to go and find her after that, you have no soul. Really.

Thanks for taking the time to read – I should point out all of the above is only my point of view according to my tastes in fiction – that said, Red is available on Amazon and Goodreads right now for what I believe to be an introductory price of 99p as well as being available for free to all with Kindle unlimited.

If you want something short and snappy to sink your fangs into, you’ll find it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074QNKBS4?tag=geolinker-21

And if you do take the time to read it, make sure to come back here and let everyone else know what you thought of it – I’d love to chat to you about it. Come join me in the dark – it’s fun.

Cheers guys!