Cover design by Julia Lloyd
M.T. Hill has had a busy few years. Last year Locus reviewer Paul Di Filippo raved “his third novel, Zero Bomb, is so good that you will want to snatch up copies of the first two, as I just did.” Those first two books were written under the name Matt Hill, and they include the 2017 Philip K. Dick Award nominee Graft, which we covered back in 2016. His fourth novel in four years, The Breach, was released back in May, and fulfilled the promise of his early books. Lucy Wood at Sublime Horror was clearly impressed:
In a period of state-sanctioned exercise and rationed food, I have lost myself in M.T. Hill’s The Breach, a story of infection, incubation, contagion and transmission, of invasion and quarantine, that, although very much firmly in the sci-fi realm, could not be more appropriate right now.
The Breach is told in the main by local newspaper reporter Freya and Shep, a thrill-seeking trainee steeplejack. Freya is sent to cover the funeral of a young climber, Stephen, whose death is not as straightforward as it’s being claimed. When Shep isn’t shimmying up sky-high stacks for work, he is an urban explorer – a highly illegal activity in this near future world they live in. They cross paths when Freya uncovers a post uploaded to an urbex forum by Stephen, showing what appears to be a nest. As Freya’s probe into the circumstances of his death grows more unsettling, both she and Shep journey headlong into a situation with devastating consequences.
Hill’s storytelling is second-to-none… I’ve read some horrifying stuff in my time. The Breach notches up the fear incrementally, almost imperceptibly. Before you know it, we are head-deep in a skin-crawling version of life, where what’s real and what isn’t merges… The Breach is a smart novel for our ever-shifting times and a reminder of our fragility. It also gives us the space to draw our own conclusion on what it is to be human. And it allows us to really think about our rights to privacy and to be an individual. Most of all it’s a rollicking good read, with a resonance that lasts long after the final page has turned. Trust me, this one will get under your skin.
The Breach was published by Titan Books on March 17, 2020. It is 380 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback and $7.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by the tireless Julia Lloyd. Read a brief excerpt at Ginger Nuts of Horror.
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