Four planes. Three survivors. One message. It seemed like the end of the world… but it wasn’t. This, however, just might be.
The trip of their dreams becomes the holiday of their nightmares…
Four days into a five day singles cruise on the Gulf of Mexico, the ageing ship Beautiful Dreamer stops dead in the water. With no electricity and no cellular signals, the passengers and crew have no way to call for help. But everyone is certain that rescue teams will come looking for them soon. All they have to do is wait.
That is, until the toilets stop working and the food begins to run out. When the body of a woman is discovered in her cabin the passengers start to panic. There’s a murderer on board the Beautiful Dreamer… and maybe something worse.
The Three was easily one of my favourite books of last year. Day Four is the highly-anticipated follow-up, and I’m happy to report that it does not disappoint. Lotz has easily become one of my favourite authors.
Day Four is quite different from The Three. For one thing, it is presented in a more ‘conventional’ style: a prose narrative, rather than a series of articles, letters, transcripts, etc., which Lotz handled with masterful skill in the previous book. I wasn’t disappointed, but I was a little surprised, as I’d expected something more akin to The Three. There are a handful of ‘blog posts’ and some transcripts at the end, though (which do a wonderful job of simultaneously illuminating and obfuscating what really happened on the ship — it’s very well done).
The story follows a handful of characters on board the Beautiful Dreamer cruise ship — including the special guest medium, her assistant, the ship’s doctor, a passenger with a dark secret, a member of the maid staff, and a couple others that come in and out of the narrative. All of these characters are dealing with their own personal trials and insecurities. As events become stranger and stranger on the ship, their anxieties, secrets and passions come to the fore. It’s a suspenseful novel, and every strange occurrence and creepy scene builds very well to a fantastic ending. It was particularly interesting to see how quickly and starkly the attitudes of passengers and crew change as their situation becomes more dire and uncertain. An interesting examination of humans under stressful conditions, and how it can reveal our “true” natures. [Yes, it’s a little tricky to write about this novel without spoiling things, hence the rather vague wording in this review.]
If you are a fan of The Three, then you should absolutely pick this up — it is yet more evidence that Sarah Lotz is one of the best authors writing today. The events of The Three are mentioned in passing, so there are some nice links for those who enjoyed the first book. At the same time, I think the novel can stand on its own. I just think you should read The Three as well, because it’s so very good.
Excellent prose and a gripping, slow-burn story. Very highly recommended.