Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review: Ghost Country by Patrick Lee

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 desolate 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.

Breathless is the word that was used by James Rollins on the cover quote for Patrick Lee’s second Breach novel GHOST COUNTRY. That is exactly how I would describe it. Absolutely breathless. Unputdownable (readers are forcing this to be a word, so I can use it) is the second best word to describe it.

And I thought THE BREACH was good...Man was I in for a treat!

It turns out that establishing the anomaly called The Breach, buried deep under the earth at the location known as Border Town, was just the beginning. Dealing with the Breach entity called Whisper that shared with Travis Chase his own dark future was also, merely the beginning.

The two cylinders that are the entity that is dealt with in this second book in Patrick Lee’s addictive series do something very strange, but very interesting as well. They punch a hole into the future, and show the world, as it will be 70 odd years from now. The problem is what the protagonists see on the other side scares the crap out of them. Travis Chase, after having been told by the Whisper entity in the first book that a future version of his lover, friend and Tangent operative Paige Campbell sent a note back to herself in the past that she needs to kill him, has left Tangent and is working the night shift at a non-descript warehouse. Convinced that if he keeps away from Tangent and Paige that the terrible future in which has caused his own lover to turn against him, can be avoided. Life, however doesn’t turn out to be so simple. Paige is attacked by the new president after she shows him the future punching entity. Recruited by her assistant Bethany on the same night, Travis is once again involved with Tangent, an entity from the Breach and a world in even more peril than it was last time.

Breathless is the best way to describe it as I said above because this JUST. DOES. NOT. STOP. The pace is ridiculously relentless. I read it in about two sittings. My nose buried in it on the subway on the way to work, ignoring all else around me so that I can find out what happens to our favourite Tangent operatives, and just what it is they see in the future that scares them so.

The writing is, once again, pitch perfect with no extraneous stuff. Don’t get me wrong, there is significant character development, it’s just that Lee deftly weaves his story without wasting any time. I enjoy his prose on a level with Rollins. This is the “thriller” at its absolute finest. The wheels and cogs that make up such a book are greased and slicked into a motion that made me describe this book to a friend as “Incredible! It’s FRINGE on steroids…at Christmas...getting laid.”

We get a significant more bit of insight into both Travis and Paige, most especially in the latter half of the book. I actually felt that their love story comes off more refined in this second book. There is a scene in which they are staring out a window together and she points something out to him and he lays his head along her arm to see what she’s pointing at. It’s a simple thing, but the intimacy in that line is palpable. Well executed on Lee’s part indeed. They’ve moved past the lusty first encounter and entered into a genuine caring state. It was nice to see that start to flourish. We also get introduced to a new side character in the form of Paige’s assistant Bethany, who is kind of our tech wizard character. She used to work for Homeland Security, amongst other things and is able to do things and find things out in a very adaptable manner, and to me she was a welcome addition to the cast. I’ll be interested to see how many cast members Lee plans to add to the books in the future.

The story itself is not only amazing, but totally believable and even the big reveal about what happens to make the future so messed up blew me away with surprise. One of Lee’s strengths seems to be keeping us in the dark, while giving us little tidbits and morsels as we go along to the big picture, so that when he finally puts it together we have a collective moment of understanding and wonder at the genius of that moments’ creation. I’m not lying when I say that he surprised me a few times in the book with things I wasn’t expecting. I also want to mention the fact that not everything the protagonists DO in the book succeeds, and a number of times they get it wrong or set events in motion that amount to nothing. That’s a nice realistic touch that not a lot of authors achieve in their work. Some authors have their protagonists achieve pretty much everything they set out to do, no matter how unbelievable. Lee doesn’t do that. His characters are as fallible as you and me. Sometimes they get it wrong, sometimes they get it right but at a cost. There’s just a realism there that is hard to beat.

I only have one complaint about GHOST COUNTRY…and that is that it JUST came out. Meaning I have to wait a while for the next one! Dammit! After only two books I am sufficiently addicted to this series. Like totally can’t wait for the next one to see what happens next.
If you like thrillers even a bit, then you MUST read Patrick Lee. Start with THE BREACH and then grab GHOST COUNTRY. In fact, save yourself some time and just by both at once, as you will want to read the second one if you read the first.



  1. Any word that there will be a 3rd? In Breach, there was a 'cliffhanger' and preview of Ghost Country. None of that in this book. The Paige/Travis issues was wrapped up a little too quickly in my mind, but doesn't have the feel of a 3rd book...any idea of there will for sure be a 3rd?

  2. I am actually fairly confident there will be a 3rd, and not only that but that this will be a continuing SERIES with more than 3 volumes.

  3. Just announced on his website, third book (called deep sky) out at the end of the year. Yay!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...