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Ghost Country    by Patrick Lee order for
Ghost Country
by Patrick Lee
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2010 (2010)
Paperback, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Tangent operative Paige Campbell is the only survivor after heavily armed gunmen attack her Washington motorcade. The moment the first shot is fired, she knows exactly who's responsible. As the killers methodically search the burning vehicles, dispatching possible survivors, Paige sends out a frantic call for help to friend and Tangent colleague, Bethany Stewart.

Two years ago, ex-con Travis Chase was inexplicably drawn into his first Tangent adventure when he stumbled upon a downed 747 and the body of the First Lady. He learned that decades before, scientists had initiated an underground ion collider or breach, through which hundreds of technological entities crossed over. Some were useful; others relatively benign, while still others were too dangerous to contemplate.

Through his interaction with one such device called Breach Entity 0247, aka Whisper, Travis learns that his accidental discovery of the downed plane, Paige Campbell, and Tangent is anything but. Determined to change the terrifying destiny that Whisper had revealed for Travis, he turns his back on Tangent - and Paige. But when Bethany specifically seeks him out and describes the horrific future that another set of entities has revealed, Travis knows he has no choice but to rescue Paige - and the planet - from the impending ghost country.

Last year I experienced a truly yowza moment after turning the last page of Patrick Lee's marvellously original debut SF thriller, The Breach. After staying up half the night to finish Ghost Country, I reacted in much the same way and wondered, 'Why hasn't Jerry Bruckheimer snapped up these books?' Both The Breach and Ghost Country would make terrific blockbuster movies!

While the first half of this story isn't as intense and action-packed as its predecessor, Lee still delivers plenty, along with a terrifying world's end scenario. It's riddled with a myriad of unforeseen twists, two compelling leads in Paige and Travis, as well as a great cast of secondary players, particularly Bethany and former president Richard Garner. Will Patrick Lee manage to wow me a third time? I'm counting on it!

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