Author: Patrick Lee
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Thriller
Publication Date: January 2011
Paperback: 352 pages
For decades, inexplicable technology has passed into our world through the top secret anomaly called the Breach. The latest device can punch a hole into the future …”
What Paige Campbell saw when she opened a door into seventy years from now scared the hell out of her. She and her Tangent colleagues brought their terrible discovery to the President – and were met with a hail of automatic gunfire after leaving the White House. Only Paige survived.
Fearing a terrifying personal destiny revealed to him from the other side of the Breach, Travis Chase abandoned Tangent … and Paige Campbell. Now he must rescue her – because Paige knows tomorrow’s world is desperate and dead, a ghost country scattered with the bones of billions. And Doomsday will dawn in just four short months … unless they can find the answers buried in the ruins to come.
But once they cross the nightmare border into Ghost Country, they might never find their way back …
Stand alone or series: Book 2 of the Travis Chase trilogy
How did I get this book: Review Copy from the Publisher
Why did I read this book: Ok, confession time. I’m not a huge fan of thrillers. I was skeptical when I first saw this series about a year ago. BUT, then I heard some trusted people rave about the awesomeness of The Breach, and when we were approached with the opportunity to review book 3 in this series (released just a few weeks ago), I decided it was a sign and I should take the plunge and find out what these Travis Chase books were all about. AND HOLY FREAKING CRAP, BATMAN, I loved book 1. Reviewing it for my Smugglivus “Feats of Strength”, The Breach was a tie for my favorite book of the event, so naturally I had to pick up the sequel as soon as humanly possible.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS UNAVOIDABLE SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 IN THE TRAVIS CHASE SERIES. If you haven’t read book 1 and don’t want to be spoiled, I advise you look away. You have been warned.
It has been two years since ex-cop and ex-con Travis Chase has stumbled across the shadow government agency known as Tangent, purportedly by accident in the wilds of Alaska. Two years since he has discovered the mysterious entity known as “the Breach”, a result of the VLIC particle collider that has opened a portal to a different reality. Two years since he has walked away from the woman he loves and a job at which he is perfectly matched – all because he has learned that his future involvement with Tangent could lead to his own corruption and the death of thousands. Instead of continuing his work with the agency at Paige’s side, Travis has gone off the grid after he learns that the Artificial Intelligence Breach entity called “The Whisper” is, in fact, the product of his own creation and that a future iteration of Paige is resolved on killing him. Spurning money, erasing his old identity and severing all ties with anything and anyone from his past, Travis is content with his new life working for minimum wage – if he has no means, he cannot hurt anyone. Or so he thinks.
All seems well until a young woman arrives at his apartment – claiming to be from Tangent, on Paige’s orders. It turns out, Paige has been targeted for what she’s discovered, and the only person she can trust is the one man no longer aligned with the agency or with any political ties. A new entity has emerged from The Breach – and the future it shows is a post-apocalyptic wasteland. A ghost town. In order to stop the end of the world, Paige and Travis must reunite against a foe far more formidable than anything they’ve faced before.
Dearest readers, I was limited when I had to do my review of The Breach for our Smugglivus Feats of Strength. I couldn’t accurately convey my shock and love for the book – against ALL odds. A hybrid, sci-fi heavy version of The X-Files, Fringe, and a touch of John McClaine-ish badass cop down on his luck meets savvy, wicked smart dame that can kick ass both physically and mentally, I freaking adored this cinematic, action-high read (with a killer kick that ties the entire story together, I might add). In Ghost Country, Travis and Paige are back with a vengeance, facing higher stakes than they ever could have imagined. While The Breach was more of a traditional thriller, Ghost Country is more of a slowly-unfolding mystery – we learn what has happened to the future world and how this apocalypse has come to be, but it’s a horror that unfolds tantalizingly and gradually.
If there’s anyone worthy of being called Michael Crichton-esque in style and scope, it’s Patrick Lee. Ghost Country is heavy on the action (and if you’re an action junkie like me, it’s always a good thing to discover a new author that is good at both visual detail but not at the expense of the story), but the characters have surprising humanity and sympathy. Even though Travis is a tad bit too good to be true – devoted to Paige, willing to live his life on the sidelines for the good of mankind and all that noble nonsense – he’s also got a badass, gunslinger streak that keeps him from being too much of a goody two shoes. At the same time, Paige is beautiful and brilliant, and completely capable of taking care of herself. The coolest thing about these two characters is that even though they’ve split (and Paige never knows why Travis has left Tangent, other than it must be something terrible and unspeakable), they know that they can always count on the other. My only complaint with the dynamic of their relationship is how often Travis plays the hero to Paige’s damsel in distress – the scales are tipped in his favor, and I hope that in the third book there’s more of a balance.
I don’t want to say too much about the cause of the apocalypse, or how the mystery unfolds for fear of spoilers. Suffice to say, I think things unfold seamlessly, and Patrick Lee has created another winning thriller-ish mystery with a hard scifi twist. While the twist behind Ghost Country isn’t nearly as WTFPOLARBEAR! as that of The Breach (by the way, it’s the new yardstick that I will forever measure all SF thrillers against because it is THAT awesome), it’s still fantastically executed. I loved this book and cannot wait to catch up with Deep Sky very, very soon.
If you are a fan of Fringe, The X-Files, or any type of hard-boiled, gruff hero with a heart of gold crossed with a shadowy government conspiracy, it doesn’t get any better. Seriously. Try The Breach and Ghost Country. I dare you.
Notable Quotes/Parts: You can read the first 66 pages of Ghost Country courtesy of HarperCollins’s Browse Inside widget below:
(If you have trouble accessing the above, you can read the excerpt HERE.
Rating: 8 – Excellent
Reading Next: Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott & Collette Freedman
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