Friday, February 24, 2017

Review of "Day Four" by Sarah Lotz

If you're planning to take a vacation cruise any time soon you might want to skip this book.

As the story opens the almost 3000 passengers and crew on board the (so called) luxury liner 'Beautiful Dreamer' have experienced smooth sailing for three days. It's now day four....and things take a downturn. An engine room fire badly injures the head engineer, cuts off the ship's electricity, and interferes with the ship's communication systems. Thus, there's no phone service, no wi-fi, no emergency radio - in short no way to contact anyone outside the ship. Emergency generators are of limited assistance. On top of that the contagious norovirus begins spreading among the passengers and crew.

Pretty soon food supplies dwindle, the ship is sweltering hot, toilets stop working, dirty towels and sheets pile up, cabins reek from vomit and diarrhea, passengers become belligerent, the pool is polluted, people start camping out on decks and recreation areas, etc. Moreover, the body of a dead girl is found in her cabin - and murder is suspected. In short, the situation becomes hellish.

To add to the confusion, frequent public announcements thank the passengers for their 'patience' but provide no real information about what's happening. And help doesn't seem to be coming! People become frightened and start to offer wild speculations about what's going on. Zombies? Bad weather? War? Bermuda Triangle? Ship drifted off course? one knows.

The story follows a number of passengers and crew members as the situation unfolds. These include: Paul - a rapist/accidental murderer; Celine Del Rey - a fake medium who supposedly conveys messages from loved ones on 'the other side; Celine's assistant Maddie - who helps her boss rook her marks; Xavier - a blogger who means to expose Celine as a fraud; Helen and Elise - widowed friends who plan to commit suicide; Althea - a conscientious steward on the luxury deck; Jesse - the ship's doctor, who has a whiff of malpractice and a drug addiction in his past; and Devi - a security guard who's ashamed about a rapist he allowed to go free.

The mayhem is escalated by several supernatural creatures ('ghosts') that are seen or heard by passengers and crew members. Some crew men even claim the dead girl is moving around. As the situation aboard ship gets more and more intolerable many people resort to drastic measures, apparently following the dictate 'every man for himself.'

The story held my attention and I was anxious to learn what was going on and what the final outcome would be. At the end of the book it's not crystal clear what had happened...but the speculation is intriguing. All in all, an enjoyable horror story - not too deep, but an entertaining read.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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