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Ghost Country by Patrick Lee
Review by Steve Sawicki
Harper Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061584442
Date: 01 January 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Ghost Country is the sequel to Patrick Lee's successful first novel, The Breach. Travis Chase has abandoned Tangent and is living under an assumed identity in a small town deep in the middle of nowhere. He's staying as far away from Tangent and Paige Campbell as possible. He carries in his wallet a piece of paper from the future--from a future Paige Campbell meant for the Paige Campbell of the present. On the paper is a single sentence: Kill Chase. Travis figures if he can stay as far away from Tangent, the super secret facility managing the phenomenon known as the breach, where alien technology appears on a regular basis, he might be able to avoid doing whatever it is that caused the future Paige to need to have him killed.

At the same time a new piece of alien technology has come across the breach--a tube that allows not just a view of the future but entry to that future. When the researchers at Tangent use the device they discover a future America that is desolate. They determine that the device opens a window approximately 70 years into the future. Not knowing what happened but knowing they need to inform the authorities, Paige and her colleagues head to Washington to inform the President.

After the meeting the motorcade they are traveling in is attacked and everyone but Paige is killed. Paige manages to make one phone call to a Tangent staffer. That phone call will begin a chain of events upon which the future of the country depends. And it's a chain that requires the intervention of Travis Chase.

Lee creates a viable near future US where access to the technology that comes through the alien breach can be an immediate game changer--assuming that those who receive the technology can figure out how to use it without setting off a destructive chain of events. The hook in this novel is a bit far fetched but believable if you run it through a logical set of thoughts. I won't say more than that because the entire book is dependent upon this one set of beliefs driving the plot. It works and it's certainly an interesting premise.

I liked this book. It was a fast read, an interesting read, with interesting characters. The pacing is quick, the action intense and Lee manages to keep the whole thing interesting by managing to hide the true cause of what is driving the novel until the very end. It takes a good writer to be able to keep a knowledgeable reader in the dark these days and Lee does it without a trace of effort. I recommend this book as well as the first one and I expect we will see more in this series in the near future.

Our Readers Respond

From: Drew Bittner:
Great review by Steve. One element that isn't raised, however, is the poignance Lee brings to his desolate, empty future. The scene at the airport is Yuma is absolutely heartbreaking, and never have the words "Come Back" been so heart-wrenching. Honestly, I rarely tear up at the printed word these days but I did this time around. Lee really brought the emotional gutpunch to a new level in Ghost Country, and I am very eager to see more from him. He's a writer to watch.

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