Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Review: The Breach by Patrick Lee

Thirty years ago, in a facility buried beneath a vast Wyoming emptiness, an experiment gone awry accidentally opened a door.
It is the world's best-kept secret—and its most terrifying.
Trying to regain his life in the Alaskan wilds, ex-con/ex-cop Travis Chase stumbles upon an impossible scene: a crashed 747 passenger jet filled with the murdered dead, including the wife of the President of the United States. Though a nightmare of monumental proportions, it pales before the terror to come, as Chase is dragged into a battle for the future that revolves around an amazing artifact.
Allied with a beautiful covert operative whose life he saved, Chase must now play the role he's been destined for—a pawn of incomprehensible forces or humankind's final hope—as the race toward Apocalypse begins in earnest.
Because something is loose in the world.
And doomsday is not only possible . . . it is inevitable.

To start this review I need to do one of my example phrases. You know in the first HELLBOY movie where they are walking through BPRD HQ and Professor Broom is explaining to the newbie that they hold a number of strange, wonderful, and dangerous artifacts there and that they “bump back” against things that bump in the night? Well, when I watched the movie I always thought to myself how very cool it would be to get to stop at each item, and find out its history, purpose ect.

Now guess what Patrick Lee’s thriller novel THE BREACH is about.

Yup. You guessed it. Recently it is like these author’s are weaving tales aimed directly at me with everything I like in a story written on the pages.

THE BREACH, as a premise is super cool:

Basically ex-con Travis Chase gets out of prison and decides to go north to the Alaskan wilderness, to mountains, snow and clean slates. While hiking in the mountains he comes across a downed 747 with no markings. His curiosity bests him and he investigates, finding a plane full of dead people (including the wife of the president of the United States), en empty steel chamber that looked like it fit a cue ball-sized sphere, and a note that says this object, called “Whisper”(a Breach Entity), has been taken by hostiles. It goes on to say that the poeple who took it and the people they kidnapped from the plane should all be killed (even the hostages), and Whisper needs to be recovered. These events start a race which brings Travis into contact with a secret organization called Tangent, the daughter of one of its founders, Paige Campbell, whom he rescues from torture and death at the hands of said hostiles. That’s only the beginning and then the shit really starts to go down. I’ll hazard not telling you much else as to not spoil such a thrilling book. Sufficed to say, in this book nothing is as it seems, The Breach itself, its history, Tangents’ history and personnel are all riddles and clever stories.

THE BREACH in execution is excellence in thriller writing. I think that Lee could probably teach a class. I was completely rapt from page one. There is so much meaty story that will hold every single ounce of your interest here that I can’t even properly explain it to you. I read this book in two sittings. The pace does not stop. It is unbelievably relentless and the ride is rather exhilarating. Travis’ story is very interesting, as sprinkled throughout the book are little side passages that explain how Travis got to be in prison and why. Again, I really like this plot device as it reveals just enough each time to keep you wondering. Those passages aren’t full chapters, but rather feel like two or three page interludes and as such they very much work. Travis and Paige are the only ones who are really fleshed out in front of you, but they are the only ones who need to be as you are foremost with them for the entirety of the novel. Both are well defined, interesting and fun characters to read and the little bits of insight we get into their pasts over the course of the book just keeps adding to their filling out.

Like I said, I don’t want to spoil anything, but the third act of this book will have you literally gasping with excitement and interest. I can’t imagine anyone being able to put this book down in the third act, I sure couldn’t. Lee keeps the tension and secrets going till the last two pages (literally, not figuratively) and the end of the book left me feeling kind of exhilarated and salivating for the second book. Thankfully I already have the second book GHOST COUNTRY on my shelf to read!

Lee is a master of the supernatural thriller. The quote on the back cover is by one of my other fave thriller author’s James Rollins and he wasn’t lying, this book is amazingly accomplished and one hell of a thrill-ride. A novel that is as smart as it is exciting and mysterious. It has all the right bells and whistles in the right spots. Patrick Lee has crafted a book that would be a welcome addition to anyone’s shelf. For me, Lee has successfully (with one book) jumped to the top of my must-read list. Fantastic stuff!

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