I noticed a few people I follow on Twitter and various podcasts were talking about Patrick Lee’s novel, The Breach. They described it as something like the TV show 24, plenty of intense action with sci-fi elements. Sounds like good popcorn entertainment, right?
Alas, The Breach fell flat for me. The plot has some decent moments, with a high concept idea that Warren Ellis might have come up with—a Breach into another universe that needs to be protected from the enemies of the United States. (I couldn’t help but think of The Bleed from Ellis’ comic the Authority.) A plane crash lands in a remote area of Alaska, where it is discovered by our hero, Travis Chase. We don’t know much about Chase to begin with, but we can tell he’s tortured, having spent time in prison for something pretty awful. All that is shoved aside and doled out in flashbacks, as Chase finds the dead body of the First Lady of the United States on the plane, along with a handwritten note telling him to grab a gun and eliminate the bad guys who downed the plane and kidnapped the survivors. Paige Campbell is one of these hostages, who is being held in a camp along with her father not too far away.
Paige is destined to be Chase’s love interest, but Lee is so anxious for them to get there, he has them kissing a few hours after they meet, right after a scene where Paige has had her arm surgically opened (and nerve endings exposed), the culmination of several days of torture by her enemies. It didn’t work at all for me, and most of the characterization just fell flat. Also, the way in which Chase overcame certain obstacles, especially at the end, happened way too easily. But I think my main complaint overall is that the characters aren’t that interesting. They function as ciphers in their role demanded by the plot, which is to kill the bad guys, save the world, and get the girl. I cannot recommend this book and won’t be reading the sequels. Nuff Said!