Sarah Lotz is very, very good at building dread, and she takes quite a bit of what made The Mall (writing as one half of SL Grey), and The Three, so great and applies it here, to wonderfully creepy effect. After all, on a cruise ship, you’ve got a captive audience with no hope of escape if something nasty is running amok. And in fact, Lotz kicks off the abuse of her poor passengers with a virulent strain of norovirus, then ups the stakes with power outages and strange goings on with Celine del Ray, who, along with the Friends of Celine that have been promised a cruise with exclusive access to the psychic, seems to be attracting people in droves, and who also knows facts about the passengers that haven’t been gathered by her assistant Maddie. Day Four is intelligent, visceral horror, and Lotz’s character studies add a new layer to what could have been just another “haunted house” novel. But then, nothing about Lotz’s work is ordinary, and just when you think the creepshow is coming to a conclusion, or that Lotz is offering her characters a bit of relief, she hits you with another creepy twist. Also on display is wry observations on conspicuous consumption (see The Mall) and some sly commentary on social media and how much we depend on it.
I’ll read anything Sarah Lotz writes, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
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