MYSTERY

Dark Video

Catalyst. Jan. 2020. 244p. ISBN 9781946395214. pap. $15.95. THRILLER
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Church (Crackerjack) explores the dark side of the internet during the early days of video sharing. While on a morning run, Terri Phillips is blindfolded, dragged into the woods, and forced to strip naked. The attackers film her terror and embarrassment but leave her otherwise untouched. She is then seemingly rescued by handsome and privileged law student Alistair Morgan, who just happens upon the crime scene. Readers soon learn that Alistair was one of her attackers. He and his accomplices work for a shadowy video-sharing website, Dark Video, which provides high-paying clients with a host of scandalous content. Alistair is drawn increasingly deeper into this dangerous world, while also trying to sleep with Terri, who confides in Alistair and remains unaware of his true identity. Unfortunately, the premise is outdated and the depictions of violence against women are problematic.
VERDICT The finale has some twisty plot developments, but it’s hardly worth wading through the amateurish prose, mostly unlikable characters, and gratuitous depictions of sexual assault in this overall clumsy and misogynistic technothriller.

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