The Three was without question one of the best and most hellish horror novels released in recent years. As I concluded in my review, Sarah Lotz’s “nightmarish indictment of contemporary culture [was] assiduously ambiguous, brilliantly balanced, carefully controlled and in the final summation fantastically crafted,” so I’m on board for Day Four, the “unforgettable sequel” Hodderscape revealed recently.
Day Four appears to shift the focus of The Three from the skies to the seas.
Four days into a five day singles cruise on the Gulf of Mexico, the ageing ship Beautiful Dreamer stops dead in the water. With no electricity and no cellular signals, the passengers and crew have no way to call for help. But everyone is certain that rescue teams will come looking for them soon. All they have to do is wait.
That is, until the toilets stop working and the food begins to run out. When the body of a woman is discovered in her cabin the passengers start to panic. There’s a murderer on board the Beautiful Dreamer… and maybe something worse.
Look out for Day Four in late May in the UK. A little later, relatedly, Sarah Lotz is set to reteam with Louis Greenberg—whose solo debut, Dark Windows, I’d dearly love to see released hereabouts. Alas, it’s been out in South Africa since last April, and the more the months go by, the less optimistic I’m left. For today, I digress… but here’s looking at you, potential publishers!
In the past, Lotz’s partnership with goodman Greenberg has given readers an embarrassment of wickedly satirical riches in The Mall, The Ward and The New Girl, all for Corvus. This year, the pair are preparing to make their Tor UK debut as S.L. Grey with an original novel which Julie Crisp calls “what would happen if Stephen King woke up one morning as Agatha Christie.”
This is what we know about Underground’s story:
A global outbreak of a virus sends society spinning out of control. But a small group of people have been preparing for a day like this. Grabbing only the essentials, they head to The Sanctum, a luxury self-sustaining underground survival facility where they’ll shut themselves away and wait for the apocalypse to pass.
All the residents have their own motivations for buying into the development. A mix of personalities, they are strangers separated by class and belief, all of them hiding secrets. They have only one thing in common: they will do anything to survive.
The doors close, locked and secured with a combination that only one man knows. It’s the safest place they could be. They’re ready for anything… but when a body is discovered, they realise the greatest threat to their survival may be trapped in The Sanctum with them.
Sounds to me like Underground splits the difference between the Downside series and Lotz’s solo stuff. It’s pencilled in for publication in mid-July. Clearly, the summer is coming… and if S.L. Grey has anything to say about it, it’s going to be ghastly.
Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.