The Vanishing Room: S.M. Fenton
Reviewed By Steve Stred
‘The Vanishing Room‘ is one of those books that easily fits the bill for what a lot of horror readers are looking for, but sadly, it appears as though it’s fallen through the cracks of the sheer volume of books out there. As of writing this review, mine is the first rating on Goodreads, so I’m not sure if there’s a double listing or if this is true, but hopefully this review can get more readers keen on checking this out!
What I liked: ‘The Vanishing Room‘ is a slow burner that reads like a great escape novel filled with gothic tinges and creepy moments. Saying that, there isn’t so much “escaping” happening as there is bumbling!
The book follows Richard, suddenly rich in his mid-twenties after a family member has passed away and left her wealth to him. Like all young folk, he decides to travel and see the world, but a chance encounter at his first stop with a beautiful woman becomes a reoccurring theme as he falls deeper and deeper into a web.
While I at first found Richard to be a bit of a knob and frankly wanted to smack him, Fenton does a great job of making him an endearing character.
What I didn’t like: On Goodreads, I gave this 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. It would have been an easy 4 stars if the first quarter of the book wasn’t soooooo slllooooowwwww. Some stuff happens, but at a glacial pace, which made it a bit of a slog. Thankfully, the last half really remedied the slowness at the beginning and the ending is a nice payoff.
Why you should buy this: Fenton’s writing reminded me of everything I’ve read from Frazer Lee, so if he’s an author you enjoy, then definitely check this out. Otherwise, if you are looking for a character to root for and a mixture between some comedic coincidences and action, you can’t go wrong.
The Vanishing Room
A haunted inn. A scarecrow festival. A cursed room. When Richard Beckett quits his job to travel the world, he soon learns that he is a magnet for trouble. His attraction to the unearthly beauty of a young married woman leads him to a strange room in a dilapidated inn. Can the headlines about mysterious disappearances be explained rationally, or will he become the latest victim of The Vanishing Room?
“In a world of body-horrors, slashers, and splatter movies Fenton returns to the romance of vintage psychological horror.”
Paralysed and in pitch darkness, I was assaulted by the dust that rose from the thick fabric I now rested on. It burned my airways with each shallow breath; and the tiny motes stuck to my dry eyes, causing a fierce itch that I was helpless to remedy. The rush of panic lasted several minutes and though I suffered it in both stillness and silence, my mind screamed and thrashed.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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