Red River Seven, by A.J. Ryan

The Book

Red River Seven
Pages: 304
Age Group: Adult
Published on 10/10/2023
Publisher: Orbit Books
Available on:


Seven strangers. One mission. Infinite horror.

A man awakes on a boat at sea with no memory of who or where he is. He's not alone - there are six others, each with a unique set of skills. None of them can remember their names. All of them possess a gun.

When a message appears on the onboard computer - Proceeding to Point A - the group agrees to work together to survive whatever is coming.

But as the boat moves through the mist-shrouded waters, divisions begin to form. Who is directing them and to what purpose? Why can't they remember anything?

And what are the screams they can hear beyond the mist?  

My Review

Red River Seven is a standalone horror thriller novel written by A.J. Ryan (also known as Anthony Ryan in his fantasy writing), published by Orbit Books. It's an absorbing book, a read that I practically did in one sit, as I always had the itch of "let's see what will happen in the next chapter"; a plot driven thriller packed with tons of action and which slowly unravels a dark world in front of the reader.

A story that begins with seven people in a boat, surrounded by mist, coming back to consciousness with plenty of confusion, as nobody of them seem to remember who they are or why they have been reunited on this boat. This initial shock is maximized when a corpse is found, apparently a suicide with a gunshot; soon, the silence is broken by a phone's ring, with a robotic voice that gives some instructions our strangers need to follow if they want the boat to move.
As the boat advances and starts approaching to what the computer marks as the southeast coast of England, screams of humans begin to sound louder; Ryan starts shifting from pure action thriller to a more horror focused story, introducing different elements to the story and playing in sharp ways with the fear of the unknown.

Discovering what is hidden behind the mist, or why these strangers have been selected as part of this journey are questions that will be slowly answered, creating multiple new mysteries in the process; Ryan manages to capture in clever ways that uncertainty and how it affects the mind.

It's impossible to separate this book from the excellent atmosphere that is slowly woven into the story, whose horror gets progressively developed, introducing those epidemiologic elements that play a key role in it. Despite the characters are not exactly the most brilliant aspect, they still create memorable scenes (especially that ending makes totally deserved the Apocalypse Now comparison I read).

Red River Seven is a compelling read, a story that in the last moments also remembered me of the Resident Evil books by S.D. Perry, especially in aspects like the tension lived by the characters. An excellent novel, which I enjoyed like a child, and which I would totally see being adapted to other mediums.

The Author/s

A.J. Ryan

A.J. Ryan

Hi, I’m Anthony Ryan, writer of fantasy, science fiction, and very occasional non-fiction.

After a long career in the British Civil Service I took up writing full time after the success of my first novel Blood Song, Book One of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy which has been purchased by Penguin US, published in July 2013. I also wrote the Draconis Memoria trilogy and the Raven’s Blade duology, the sci-fi noir series Slab City Blues, and The Seven Swords series of fantasy novellas.