Before the Frankfurt Book Fair a few years ago, a partial manuscript of The Three was sent to a selection of editors. A perfect storm of offers followed, and less than a day later, a substantial six figure sum from U.K. publisher Hodder & Stoughton coffers proved sufficient to secure the company Sarah Lotz’s phenomenal first novel. On the strength of an excerpt alone, this was practically unprecedented, especially for an author absent a track record to trade on.
But that, as a matter of fact, isn’t entirely accurate: though The Three is the first book to bear her name in such a prominent place outside of South Africa, Lotz has been around the block and back—in the publishing business, that is. In the past, she’s worked with her daughter Savannah on the Deadlands saga and she’s one of three writers behind Helena S. Paige’s pseudonymous Choose Your Own Erotica novels. The Three, however, has most in common with the scathing urban horror Lotz and Louis Greenberg collaborated on as S. L. Grey: not enjoyable novels, no—the events the Downside descents document being altogether too terrible to take pleasure from—but blerrie good books, to be sure. As, in its way, is Lotz’s latest.