So I just finished reading Day Four by Sarah Lotz and was kinda blown away by it. Lotz’s follow-up to The Three is simply exceptional in any way I look at it. Not since Josh Malerman’s Birdbox, have I been so excited about talking about a book and puzzling over what it all meant.
Day Four puts us onboard The Beautiful Dreamer, a relatively cheap cruise liner which has just entered the Gulf of Mexico on it’s home stretch. For the first three days of the cruise, everything was great. But on day four, the engines stop, and the communications system goes down. People start coming down with some weird illness, and others start seeing ghosts. With no one coming to rescue them, The Beautiful Dreamer can do nothing but drift.
The most interesting thing about Day Four is that, while it is not a sequel to The Three, it is in the same universe. People talk about the events of Black Thursday, the four plane crashes at the centre of Lotz’s previous novel, and many characters are mentioned. The only way I can really explain it, is that if The Three was Cloverfield, then Day Four is 10 Cloverfield Lane. It’s the same universe, but it’s an entirely new story that stands on it’s own.
That being said, I would recommend reading The Three first, just to experience all the cool little nods to it. But it’s more than that. Day Four is clearly the continuation of the Sarah Lotz universe, the foundations of which were established in The Three. It would be entirely possible to read Day Four first, it might just not be as bloody awesome as I found it.
Because Day Four is just that. Bloody awesome. It is clear that Sarah Lotz is having a lot of fun, and that meant I had a lot of fun too. Most of the books I read for this blog seem so laboured, and stripped down, that any element of joy they once had had been amputated from them drafts before. But Day Four sings with an youthful exuberance that’s as infectious as the virus going around on the ship.
As things started to go sour on the ship, and the passengers started to realise they were not getting rescued, and the ghosts came out to play, there was a moment where I caught myself and realised I actually had no idea how the story was going to end. And that was just so refreshing. And Day Four has an ending that is likely to set the foundations for what is to come. Because Sarah Lotz seems to be sowing the seeds for something big. And I’ll be there day one to check it out.
Day Four is an exceptional example of a high-concept thriller. The story of a stranded cruise ship walks the line between pure human panic and other-wordly scares perfectly. It challenges you, and rewards you for paying attention, whilst pulling the rug out from under you in one fell swoop. Day Four is a short, sharp shock to the system that simply can’t be missed.
DAY FOUR by SARAH LOTZ