Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Book Review: "The Breach" by Patrick Lee

It's funny how we decide to pick up books sometimes. I was introduced to David Eddings by some fanboy-types I knew while going to college. I think I'm grateful I wasn't running with the Oprah-crowd back then. I don't think I could handle the angst. Anyway. The Breach by Patrick Lee is a book I wouldn't have even known about if it weren't for John DeNardo over at SF Signal and I might still have passed it up if it wasn't for the occasional tweet to remind people that it might be worth checking out. So I picked it up over the holidays and I probably read it faster than anything else I picked up in the last year.

Travis Chase is an ex-cop and an ex-convict trying to forget the past. As part of his new life he heads to Alaska and tries to lose himself in the icy wilderness. But when a plane crashes into the mountainside Chase is camping on, circumstances take a dramatic and strange turn. After rushing to the site to look for survivors Chase is thrust into a bizarre series of events when he discovers the body of the First Lady aboard the plane. It doesn't take long before Chase is caught in the middle of a major intrigue when he saves hostage Paige Campbell while she is being tortured for information about an artifact that was on the plane and an organization known as Tangent. What starts out looking a lot like a typical mystery/thriller soon takes on an "X-Files" like flavor as Travis is introduced to the secrets of The Breach and he learns that our world may butt-up  against another dimension full of dangerous technology that could destroy our world.

"The Breach" is a fun book that kind of reads like the literary love-child of Lincoln Child and Dean Koontz. It fiddles with scientific theory but never gets detailed enough to be confusing for the scientifically illiterate (like me).  It has all the action you would expect from a thriller but it also adds a nice bit of fantasy flair that keeps you guessing wondering what the next revelation is going  to be. But what really impressed me about Lee's writing was his ability to stay just ahead of what could have been a real credibility gap. Every time he'd throw another twist into the mix a half-dozen questions would pop-into my head; you know the type-- the ones that make it impossible to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy the book. But Lee does a good job- really good- of quickly checking each one off the list and allowing you to get back into the flow of the story.

But if I have to give one reason why I would recommend "The Breach" it's the ending; I didn't see it coming. Maybe that's a reflection on my skills as a reader. But it's rare that a book can surprise me and this one did. I loved the twist at the end and couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel, Ghost Country-- which happens to be the first book I have pre-ordered since the last installment to the Harry Potter saga.

"The Breach" isn't one of those philosophically profound books. It's not a life-changer (though how often do you find one of those?). But it is really entertaining. A book I couldn't wait to get back to and finish in record time.


John D. said...

Did I lie? ;)

Glad you liked it. As I mentioned before, GHOST COUNTRY is just as riveting.

SQT said...

No-- you were absolutely right. I thought it was great.

writtenwyrdd said...

Thanks for the mention, it sounds like a great read.

mcgriffmusings said...

I love books with an ending that seems to come from total left field! I also like anything with an X-file type of vibe. Looks like this will go on the "To Read" list!

Great review!

Clark said...

Breach was a great book, thanks for the review! Another great sci-fi of 2010 was award-winning author Leonid Korogodski's Pink Noise. Pink Noise is a prose poem in disguise. Even when it touches upon science! The language is so compelling, I simply had to follow, even though I don’t really read science fiction all that much.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Man, you can rip through some books, yo!

Jillian said...

Glad I found this- as a fan of both Koontz and Child, this sounds awesome. Loved the comment about the Oprah angst club- I read the first 3 and decided bach then, if she recommends a book, I need to run as fast as I can in the other direction.