Friday, April 9, 2010

The Breach by Patrick Lee

I am always on the lookout for a great new thriller, one that promises to be as entertaining as it is possible to be. I am especially a fan of thrillers that manage to combine the traits of the thriller genre with science fiction or fantasy elements, without crashing on the toes of either genre. Solid contributions to the sub-sub-genre include Temple and the Jack West series by Matthew Reilly, the Atlantis series by Thomas Greanias, the simply brilliant Deep Storm by Lincoln Child (which is one of my all time favorite thrillers), and Steve Alten’s Domain Trilogy. What new author Patrick Lee was presenting seemed to be right up my alley.

Travis Chase enters the Alaskan wilds to escape both the exterior and interior forces that are pushing and prodding at him. Yet, when he discovers a downed 747 that is more than it seems, he is thrust into an adventure that takes him to the edge and back, with an experiment-gone-wrong deep below Wyoming and a villain who knows their every move. Yet what is truly behind all of the danger and violence is even more mysterious.

Patrick Lee plays with some fun tropes, combining the pace of a thriller with the SF-nal element of some type of dimensional tear, with objects falling through from the other side. Travis Chase, along with secret government agent Paige, are fun characters to follow and get to know, even if their eventual role as a couple is a given from the outset.

One problem I had with The Breach was what I felt was a gap in logic. Travis Chase is taken into complete acceptance and confidentiality with little to no effort, on a top secret government project. No way does it work that easily. While I am willing to stretch my suspension of disbelief pretty far, this stretched it past the point that it was credible. Yet, if you get over that gap, a lot of fun can be had.

I won’t point at Patrick Lee’s first novel as the most original or credible of SF/F thrillers, but it isn’t bad.


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