My review of The Red Room by Ridley Pearson first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it here today with their permission. You can also check out my interview with Ridley Pearson from Shelf Awareness where we talk further about The Red Room and other aspects of his writing career.
First line: "Two men await a delivery van."
The Red Room, Ridley Pearson’s third installment in the Risk Agent thriller series, embodies the consummate elements of both a thriller and a mystery. Contractors John Knox and Grace Chu travel to Turkey to broker the sale of a priceless art sculpture. The real goal, however, is to be in the same room with the buyer—an Iranian academic—for five minutes. Neither knows why they need to be in the room and this leads them to investigate on their own. The more the duo learns the less they understand and the greater liabilities they become. In a high-intensity race for their lives, John Knox and Grace Chu can trust only each other and hope they make the right choices.
Pearson tightly constructed the action and pacing of this novel to elicit an urgent energy. He offers the readers only the insight Knox and Chu uncover, so the disorientation and mystery surrounding the events are as real for the audience as the characters.
In addition, Pearson offers up a stunning backdrop with Istanbul. The setting is elegantly woven into the plot to accentuate and propel the story’s themes and issues, not simply paint a pretty picture.
As exceptional as these elements are in the novel, they pale in comparison to the book’s true treasure, the dynamic characters. From the protagonists down to the lowliest of supporting characters, each exhibits dimension and fulfills a vital role in the book.
The Red Room may be full of questions and ambiguities, but one thing’s for certain; it’s an outstanding reading experience.
The Red Room is available in hardcover (ISBN:9780399163746) from Putnam and as an unabridged audio (ISBN: 9781480533509) narrated by Todd Haberkorn from Brilliance.