Under Ground – S.L. Grey
The Sanctum is a luxurious, self-sustaining survival condominium situated underground. It’s a plush bolt-hole for the rich and paranoid – a place where they can wait out the apocalypse in style. When a devastating super-flu virus hits, several families race to reach The Sanctum. All have their own motivations for entering. All are hiding secrets.
But when the door locks and someone dies, they realize the greatest threat to their survival may not be above ground – it may already be inside . . .
Under Ground is a page-turning locked-room mystery from the combined talents of Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg, writing as S. L. Grey.
One of my favourite books is Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None – which I first read in one of its ‘Ten Little’ variants. If you are unfamiliar with this classic (for shame) then a group of strangers find themselves isolated on an island and (in best Christie tradition) start to be bumped off one by one.
Under Ground reminded me of And Then There Were None. In the same way Dame Agatha captivated me all those years ago, so too has S. L. Grey with Under Ground. The ‘island’ is replaced with an underground bunker. The characters in the book have each spent a small fortune to purchase residential space in an underground bunker that will keep them safe from the outside world in the event of chemical or viral outbreak. They believe their luxury homes will be able to shelter them from harm while they still enjoy state of the art electronic communications, a fully equipped gym and swimming pool and all the food and water they require.
What could possibly go wrong? Well quite a lot as it happens.
The assembled cast are fleeing a killer virus which originated in Asia and is now threatening to wipe out the population of America. The families all make their way to their underground haven only to find it is not actually finished yet and that corners have been cut on the construction. The other problem they soon discover is that you cannot choose your neighbours and we have a very unusual mix of families.
What happens to the assembled ‘preppers’ when the hatch is shut is a claustrophobic read where bullies rule, paranoia takes a firm hold over everyone and violence is never far away.
Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg have brilliantly captured the tension and the fear which you would expect when the the whole cast fear for their lives. Foul deeds lie ahead and the finger of suspicion will point at all of the characters before the reader can establish which of our players is up to no good.
Absorbing reading. Under Ground is a book I would strongly recommend you seek out.
Under Ground is published by Macmillan and is available now in Hardback and digital format.