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REVIEW: Deep Sky by Patrick Lee

REVIEW SUMMARY: Will easily be one of my best reads of the year.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Travis Chase, member of the covert government agency named Tangent that’s charged with researching a doorway to another dimension from which strange objects are emitted, stumbles upon a decades-old secret that forces him to face his destiny.

PROS: Engrossing story; well-plotted; fast-paced; cool technological (and science fictional) ideas; thrilling; hard to put down.
CONS: Distracting use of specific times; the heroes powers of deduction are unnaturally accurate.
BOTTOM LINE: A superb ending to an outstanding trilogy that is everything a science fiction thriller should be.

One of the bright spots of my reading of recent years has been the series that began with the nail-biting thriller The Breach and continued with the equally enjoyable Ghost Country. The series now concludes with Deep Sky, which maintains the same level of excellence as the books that came before — and in some ways surpasses it.

The story revolves around the activities of a secret government organization known as Tangent, a group tasked with monitoring the futuristic objects that are emitted from The Breach, a doorway into another dimension. The purpose of The Breach, as well as its originators and their intentions, are unknown. What is known is that Travis Chase (a former ex-cop who now works with Tangent) and Paige Campbell (head of Tangent and Travis’ love interest) play prominently into some future catastrophic event that could end the world. As it turns out, the latest emergency (which begins with a memorable bang in Chapter 1) may be the start of that catastrophe.

There are probably several ways to dissect a book like this: as mainstream thriller; as science fiction story; or as whether it delivers as a third book in a trilogy. Any way you slice it, this book excels. It’s a nail biting thriller that works because its expertly paced, relentless action comes with plot twists that keep you guessing. The way the plot unfolds ensures it. Indeed, what I said in my review of The Breach holds true for the entire trilogy: this is everything a thriller should be. It’s an excellent science fiction story because it relies on technology that’s put to good use, not just as window dressing. One of the Breach’s entities, in fact, comes as close to time travel as you can get without actually being time travel. It’s also a fitting end for a trilogy because looming questions posed throughout the series are finally answered. It also maintains the high level of excellence exhibited throughout the series. The ending was bittersweet, if only because the author states categorically that this is the final book. Too bad — the last chapters teased a game-changing plotline that’s as enticing as ever. If the author ever changed his mind, there’s be no hard feelings here.

As good as the book was, as a reviewer I look for flaws. Perhaps it’s because I noticed it in the previous book, but the author’s continued practice of specifying exact time durations was noticeable to the point of distraction. A nit, yes, but a distraction nonetheless — and not even needed to convey the sense of urgency which is so expertly delivered otherwise. But honestly, the book upheld such a high level of entertainment that I only mention it for completeness. Deep Sky is easily one of my best reads of the year.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

12 Comments on REVIEW: Deep Sky by Patrick Lee

  1. Hey, John,
    Glad to hear the 3rd book is good. I really, really liked The Breach and was a little disappointed by Ghost Country. I’m hoping (fingers crossed) that the 3rd book is back up to the bar that The Breach set.


  2. Sounds interesting. I’d like to hear more about the technology – is it somewhat realistic-founded, or more like magic-fantasy-superscience tech? (I suppose the question could be extended to the entirety of the book, how realistic is it in premise-backing?)

    Err, and a minor niggle… Is it fair to call something “the read of the year” when it’s barely February? It’s.. a bit of an empty summary, considering.

    • There’s more hand-waving than foundations in science. The thrill of the book is the action, not the gadgets, as cool as they are.

      I guess, technically, I should say I *suspect* this will be one of my best reads of the year. The gist is: reading experiences don’t get much better than this where you don’t want to stop reading and when you do, you want to get back to it as soon as possible to see what happens next. There are a few surprises in the book where the author leaves the status quo story line boundries and you just say, “Wow.”

  3. I’m really looking forward to this book. The first two in the series were great. Good action and characters. All around fun reads.

  4. Is he better than S. Andrew Swann?

  5. Don’t get John started 🙂

    I am glad to see the alder bole of SF Signal get in some more reviews.

  6. Well if John is a tree, he has 400 years to get some reading done.

  7. I am almost done with the second book, Ghost Country. This is an excellent series with a great mix of scifi and adventure.

  8. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this. I’ve been a fan of the series too and have this on my Kindle– just have to find the time to get to it.

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