Review & Giveaway: THE THREE by Sarah Lotz

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.

the threeSouth African author Sarah Lotz’s The Three begins on January 12 in 2012—later known as Black Thursday—when four airplanes crash in four different parts of the world, leaving only one child alive from each flight, except for the one that crashes in Africa. The survivors are dubbed The Three in the media, which goes wild with conspiracy theories about how these children survived such devastation.

In the aftermath, the questions become more about how and why they survived and then what they are, for relatives of the children notice they’re not quite the same as they were before the crash. Unexplainable things start happening around them—some good things, some benign, and some creeeepy. Are these children miracles, harbingers of End Times, aliens, or simply traumatized innocents being hounded by the media and gullible masses?

The story is presented as a book within a book, a journalist’s nonfiction tome called Black Thursday: From Crash to Conspiracy that includes interviews and conversations with people connected to the crashes. Lotz writes convincingly in the different voices of the interviewees, men and women of different ethnicities, regions, and walks of life. The sense of dread builds as characters’ paranoia mounts, and some plot twists are shocking. The coincidence of this novel coming so soon after the real-life disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 only adds to the eeriness. The ending may be frustratingly ambiguous for some, but this epic tale shouldn’t be missed. Just don’t read it on a plane.

Nerd verdict: Engrossing Three

Read also my interview with Sarah Lotz here.

Giveaway: The good people at Little, Brown are allowing me to give away one copy of this book to a PCN reader. To enter, leave a comment answering this question: What was the last unexplainable thing that happened to you? As usual, lies are accepted. Got to keep entries interesting, right? US/Canada only.

Giveaway ends next Tuesday, June 3, at 9 p.m. PST. Winner will be randomly selected and have 48 hours to claim prize. Good luck!



  • Reply
    May 27, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Funny you ask this question, because I almost texted you when it happened and emailed you about it later. It freaked me out and I’m not often freaked out. But I also thought it made me sound crazy, so just shut my gob. Who’d have thunk it would come in handy in a giveaway?

    So I’m heading out on a walk with Hank, connected to my iPhone so I can listen to my audiobook. Earbud cord got stuck on bottom of jacket, so I ran my hand from my ear to the bottom of my jacket, near my side pocket, to loosen it. At that exact moment, I felt a finger run the entire length of my butt, like someone had come up behind me and ran their finger down my right cheek. I immediately whirled around, expecting to see someone I know playing a joke on me. NO ONE WAS THERE. I repeated the motion I had made to loosen my cord, repeated every motion I could think of for several minutes and could not even come close to reproducing the touch sensation I’d felt.

    I can only conclude the forces of evil are reaching out from hell to seek my company before my time.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      May 27, 2014 at 9:22 am

      How could you NOT have told me about a ghost groping?! That is creepy in more ways than one.

  • Reply
    Anita Yancey
    May 30, 2014 at 5:18 am

    The last thing that happened to me was about three weeks after my mother-in-law passed away. I was home alone and I heard noises coming from our laundry room that sounded like someone was tearing it apart. When I went into the room it stopped and nothing was out of place. It happened again a week later with the same results. I honestly think it was her trying to let me know that she was there and alright. It definitely sounds like her style.

  • Reply
    June 2, 2014 at 4:38 am

    The last unexplainable thing that happened to me:

    Last week I was about to make a U-turn onto a busy street. A semitrailer truck pulled up in the lane next to me. There is room for both of us there, but he didn’t make his turn wide enough. The semitrailer hit the passenger side of my car.

    That part is explainable. But the unexplainable part is that the driver of the semitrailer told the policeman it was my fault, so no one got a ticket and his insurance company won’t pay me my deductasble. How could the policeman have thought that this might have been my fault?

  • Reply
    June 2, 2014 at 4:51 am

    Or do you want something spooky? How about this:

    When that semitrailer I mention in the comment above hit my car, the car was totaled and I was crushed. By the time the ambulance arrived, I was dead. But when a paramedic tried to revive me, I came back to life. Although I have no memory of the afterlife, all wittnesses insist this is true.

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