Red River Seven

Hachette Audio. Oct. 2023. 6:10 hrs. ISBN 9781668632970. $24.99. HORROR
An amnesiac on a boat awakens to the sound of a gunshot. This awakening becomes the safest point in the latest from Ryan (author of the “Raven’s Shadow” series, as Anthony Ryan). There are seven people on a boat who all seem comfortable with firearms—but not with each other. None of them have past memories; none know who they are or why they’re there. Their personalities hardly peek through the blank slates of their mind, but narrator Steven Brand grabs each hint to create distinct voices. As they drift through a noisy mist, Brand uses his voice to slowly pull the team together, bypassing the lack of strong characterization to make listeners care for the group as a unit. This approach is important, since each question answered somehow lessens the tension even as danger levels rise. What starts as a lightly surreal mystery mutates into a gruesome science-fiction action flick. This blockbuster appeal creates grimly delightful enjoyment until the last moment of the audiobook, aided by comfortable genre-savvy tropes and plot twists.
VERDICT A fun romp with echoes of Jeremy Robert Johnson’s The Loop or Nick Cutter’s The Troop. Bloody escapism at its best.
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