Sarah Lotz dabbles in many genres. She has written urban horror, mysteries, short stories, screenplays and pulp-fiction zombie thrillers with several collaborators, including her daughter. Lotz has also admitted she has a fondness for fake names. But for her latest novel, The Three, Lotz is the sole author writing under her own name, and the result is a mind-blowing book with more than a few breathtaking twists that will keep you guessing all the way to the final page.
On January 12, 2012, four planes crash almost simultaneously around the world: Japan, Florida, Portugal and South Africa. With each of the first three flights there’s a lone survivor, a child. A fourth survivor, a religious woman named Pamela May Donald, lives just long enough after the Japanese crash to find her cell phone and send a cryptic message to her pastor: “They’re here. They’re here. They are coming for me now. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to…” Pastor Len regards this message as the second coming of the Lord, referring to the three survivors as the peripheral horsemen of the apocalypse and insisting that a fourth child yet to be discovered has survived the South African flight as well. But the pastor’s speculation is only the beginning.
The crash date becomes known worldwide as Black Thursday. In the aftermath a journalist named Elspeth Martins attempts to collect the correspondence between those involved with the surviving children, including phone conversations, online chatting, texts, letters and emails. The Three consists entirely of this correspondence, which captures the state of the world as people try to understand what just happened. The reportage style can also feel bracing, as when Pamela May Donald’s doomed flight screeches with metal folding upon itself and the passengers live their final moments before impact.
As for the three children, they seem normal enough—at least from the outside. Yet after they return to their families, it becomes apparent they are not who they once were. Bottom line, something just ain’t right. Martins’s correspondence slowly unravels the mystery behind the coincident crashes in a way that will send that little tingle up your spine.
When you finish The Three, you need to ask yourself: Is The Three finished with you?
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