FICTION

The Three

Little, Brown. May 2014. 464p. ISBN 9780316242905. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316242929. F
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OrangeReviewStarLotz, a South African screenwriter and novelist, unspools a creepy thriller about four simultaneous plane crashes that stun the world. At three of the crash sites, a lone child survivor is found. And at one site, a fatally wounded passenger records an ominous message on her cell phone just before she dies. Told through a series of interviews conducted by a journalist investigating "Black Thursday," as the crash date comes to be known, we quickly discover that the three survivors are different children from who they were before the accidents. Are they merely traumatized? Are their families and caretakers imagining things? Or, as some fervently believe, are they harbingers of death and a sign that the apocalypse is near?
VERDICT Lotz is an excellent storyteller, and she favors subtle innuendo over big shocks. Her unsettling tale builds to a crescendo that will have readers leaving the lights on long after they finish the book. Recommended for fans of sf and apocalyptic thrillers by authors such as Justin Cronin and Stephen King. [See Prepub Alert, 11/10/14.]

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