Happy Saturday, guys!
We have a couple of awesome posts today, starting with a review of Day Four.
I was one of the few people who didn't like The Three, so I was a little wary when I was given the opportunity to read Day Four. However, I ended up liking this creepy, isolated, supernatural mystery.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by Little, Brown and Company (first published May 21st 2015)
Format read: E-ARC via publisher
Hundreds of pleasure-seekers stream aboard The Beautiful Dreamer cruise ship for five days of cut-price fun in the Caribbean sun. On the fourth day, disaster strikes: smoke roils out of the engine room, and the ship is stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. Soon supplies run low, a virus plagues the ship, and there are whispered rumors that the cabins on the lower decks are haunted by shadowy figures. Irritation escalates to panic, the crew loses control, factions form, and violent chaos erupts among the survivors.
When, at last, the ship is spotted drifting off the coast of Key West, the world's press reports it empty. But the gloomy headlines may be covering up an even more disturbing reality.
Lotz brings readers onboard The Beautiful Dreamer, a seemingly perfect, cruise ship. While the assembled passengers and crew have planned on a quick jaunt around the Carribean, a mysterious disaster on day four renders the ship inoperable.
Now, as the hours begin to build, and those onboard the ship begin to get antsy, passengers and crew quickly learn that there may be greater forces at play on their once ideal ship.
Lotz does a fine job of setting the tone and the pace for the book from page one, using traditional horror techniques to advance the plot. Between creepy appearing and disappearing boys, and mysterious noises in the dark, The Beautiful Dreamer quickly becomes a veritable hotbed for a person's worst nightmares, as the story progresses.
But in the midst of the psychological horrors and creepy misfortunes surrounding the ship, Lotz also makes it a point to explore the human side of the drama. We learn about the backgrounds and pasts of those onboard, and how many of them came to board the ship in the first place. Lotz does a great job of stressing the idea that we never really know what lurks behind the bright facade put forth by a person, and it's fascinating to see how the circumstances force, encourage and even manipulate the various internal psyches to come out.
The one area that readers may have issue with is the unexpected sub plot in the latter half of the book. While the possibilities that Lotz presents are certainly intriguing, it's presented in a way that feels disjointed from the rest of the plot at hand. There's also little to no resolution to that subplot, though it may very well be something that Lotz chooses to explore in the future.
Bottom line: Day Four is not a perfect novel, but it's certainly a fascinating one. Readers should check this out as an alternative to the traditional beach read.
It's the systematic physical and mental deterioration of both passengers and crew, as they work to figure out the unknown horrors involving the ship, that will keep readers turning the pages. Lotz has a knack for pinpoint and exploring a person's greatest fears, and show how in a worst case scenario, those fears can very well come to life.
I recommend this book for readers who are looking for atypical summer reading fare, and for readers who are looking for a good psychological scare.
About the author:
Sarah Lotz is a screenwriter and novelist with a fondness for the macabre and fake names. Among other things, she writes urban horror novels under the name S.L. Grey with author Louis Greenberg; a YA pulp-fiction zombie series, Deadlands, with her daughter, Savannah, under the pseudonym Lily Herne; and quirky erotica novels with authors Helen Moffett and Paige Nick under the name Helena S. Paige. She lives in Cape Town with her family and other animals.