*****Coming soon to your screen as a major BBC adaptation by Golden Globe winner Peter Straughan*****
They're here ... The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there's so many ... They're coming for me now. We're all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he's not to--
The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 - 2012)
Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.
There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.
The message is a warning.
Lotz has published "urban horror" and young adult zombie novels with collaborators and under pseudonyms, but this disappointing book is the first to appear under her real name. Its premise is promising: four planes crash on the same day in Japan, South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom, respectively, leaving three survivors, all young children: Hiro in Japan, Bobby in New York, and Jessica in London (no one, apparently, survived the crash in Johannesburg). The very act of their survival and the coincidence of the crashes understandably unnerve the whole world and prompt all manner of conspiracy theories (terrorists? aliens?), which go viral, of course, online. One adult, Pamela May Donald, a devout Christian from Texas, survives the crash in Japan long enough to phone her husband, and her final words provide opportunistic televangelists the chance to proclaim this a harbinger of the Rapture. The novel is presented in the guise of a nonfiction book, Black Thursday: From Crash to Conspiracy by Elspeth Martins, which is itself a pastiche of every conceivable genre: chat room transcripts, blog posts, news articles, and interviews (no chapter is more than a few pages long). But this approach involves dozens of characters, many of them peripheral to the central storyline, and the result reads like a faulty mash-up: plenty of bits and pieces (often well rendered by Lotz), but they don't coalesce into a real narrative with the kind of momentum or urgency that the premise calls for.