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Day Four: A Novel

Day Four: A Novel

2.9 7
by Sarah Lotz

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Step aboard "the cruise ship from hell" (Stephen King) in this "satirical scream of a novel" (New York Times Book Review).

Hundreds of pleasure-seekers board The Beautiful Dreamer cruise ship for relaxation and fun in the Caribbean. For three sun-filled days, the journey seems to deliver all that the brochure promised. Until Day Four.


Step aboard "the cruise ship from hell" (Stephen King) in this "satirical scream of a novel" (New York Times Book Review).

Hundreds of pleasure-seekers board The Beautiful Dreamer cruise ship for relaxation and fun in the Caribbean. For three sun-filled days, the journey seems to deliver all that the brochure promised. Until Day Four.
Without warning, the ship stops dead. Electricity and communications are cut off. Smoke pours out of the engine room. The passengers and crew have no way to call for help and are stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. At first, all aboard are certain that rescue teams will come looking for them soon. All they have to do is wait. Supplies soon run low, the toilets stop working and a virus plagues the ship, but when the body of a woman is discovered in her cabin, irritation escalates to panic. There's a murderer on board The Beautiful Dreamer...and maybe something worse.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Disaster strikes a pleasure boat, The Beautiful Dreamer, on the fourth day of a Caribbean cruise in Lotz’s tedious thriller, her second novel for adults (after 2014’s The Three). A young woman is murdered in her cabin, The Beautiful Dreamer comes to a standstill, its satellite positioning and radio systems go down, and normally reliable rescue boats fail to appear. Trapped with little to amuse them, the passengers increasingly become enthralled with Celine del Ray, a celebrity medium on board. The situation steadily deteriorates: food becomes scarce, ghosts and demons start appearing, and a virulent sickness spreads among the crew and passengers. Some interesting side stories delve into the personal lives of those aboard, but these are overwhelmed by graphic and repetitive descriptions of the virus, the ship’s unsterile conditions, the ghostly apparitions, and vomit, as well as by too many undeveloped characters. The murder mystery’s precipitous and unconvincing resolution will disappoint those readers who persevere to the end. Agent: Oli Munson, A.M. Heath & Company. (June)
Library Journal
★ 06/15/2015
Lotz's (The Three) new thriller is creepy, memorable, and definitely not a book to bring on your next cruise vacation. The novel opens aboard The Beautiful Dreamer, a cruise ship on a five-day New Year's excursion to the Caribbean. The first days of the trip are uneventful, but an incident on day four leaves the vessel dead in the water and unable to contact the outside world. On board, a cast of characters—an eerily prescient psychic and her assistant, a blogger, a serial rapist, a pair of elderly widows, and various members of the crew—try to cope with this unfortunate turn of events. However, as the situation worsens, passengers must defend themselves against dangers both mundane (a rapidly spreading virus) and otherworldly (ghostly apparitions and strange events). VERDICT A stranded cruise ship is the perfect setting for all manner of horrors, both real and imagined. As in her earlier book, Lotz incorporates realistic elements into her story that will keep readers engaged and turning the pages until the very end. Fans of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, get ready to set sail.—Amy Hoseth, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins
Kirkus Reviews
After three days of fun, sun, and excess, a cruise ship suddenly loses all contact with the outside world. The beleaguered passengers and crew soon find themselves fighting off the norovirus, lots of creepy noises, a few ghosts, and, eventually, each other.Lotz's (The Three, 2014) horror-thriller begins as an intriguing take on the classic "locked room" mystery since, as weird things begin to happen, there is no way on or off the ship. She employs this claustrophobic feeling very effectively at first, also developing the fear factor by exploring the mind of a serial murderer on board and by introducing Celine Del Ray, a mostly fake medium who suddenly begins to show signs of true spirit possession just as the ship gets lost (on New Year's Eve). But as every short chapter ends with a bang (sometimes literally), the novel begins to feel both formulaic and unfocused. The six or seven characters who drive the narrative (the chapters rotate among them) aren't interesting enough to carry the reader with them, nor is the mystery deep enough to sustain or encourage their development. By the time the engines start working again and Lotz switches her style to newspaper articles and interviews, it feels like a gimmick with no payoff. In the end, it's still pretty unclear whom or what Celine was channeling, but apparently it's one step up from demonic possession—malevolent but not up to dragging anyone down to hell. There's another disturbing side to this novel: the basis for the plot might be taken from some recent headlines about disappeared airplanes, and there's something a bit too salacious about the way the story unfolds when one has those current losses in mind. A little creepy but juggling too many narrative (and horror-movie) threads.
From the Publisher

"Lotz is a ferociously imaginative storyteller whose twisty plots will kick the stairs out from under you. She's a talent to watch."—Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls

"The Three is really wonderful, a mix of Michael Crichton and Shirley Jackson. Hard to put down and vastly entertaining."—Stephen King


"Really good...It's the cruise ship from hell." —Stephen King

A "satirical scream...If this tub ever makes it back to Miami, sign me up for the next cruise."—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"An intriguing take on the classic 'locked room' mystery."—Kirkus Reviews

"The confined space of the cruise ship is the perfect setting for Lotz's suspenseful style. Once things start to go wrong, Day Four is a page-turner and fun for readers with easy access to the plumbing, fresh food, hand sanitizers and sanity that Lotz's characters lack while the creepiness builds."—Jennifer Kay, The Associated Press

An "eerie tale...You'll turn the pages curiously, hungry for clues, until the ending...kicks you in the stomach. Take it to the beach--but maybe not on a cruise."—Isabella Biedenham, Entertainment Weekly

"Day Four may be the summer beach read from hell, but it's a fun one...What the novel does provide from the jump is a sense of foreboding so thick you could cut it with a knife."—Joe Hartlaub, Book Reporter

"Lotz does such a graphic job of mixing a formidable cast in stories of ghastly shipboard intrigue that anybody reading the novel will never dare to board a vessel larger than a canoe."—Jack Batten, Toronto Star

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Lotz is a novelist and screenwriter with a fondness for the macabre. She is the author of The Three, and lives in Cape Town with her family and other animals.

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Day Four: A Novel 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth reading for the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book started off with such promise and ended up a disjointed mess. It went nowhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To those of you above saying the ending is bad. Read her other book Day four and you'll understand it. This is a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good start, builds suspense, and then......nothing! There is no real ending, no explaination, not even a hint of what happened. Its as if the author just ran out of ideas. Very disappointing.
RickofMalabar More than 1 year ago
Excellent.....brilliant....scary. What a great read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the worst books I have ever read. A disjointed mess that must be avoided at all costs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago