Simon Newman is basically a shit. Once a decent rock climber, an accident knocked his confidence enough to let him sink to the world of website listicles. His new assignment involves going into (read: breaking into) a cave system to film the bodies of a couple young man who died in the cave. He’s done this by hiring a random caver from the internet, and without admitting his real reason for being there. But karma is a bitch, at the best of times, and things go horribly awry once Simon is in the bowels of the earth. Rescued three days later, and decidedly psychologically scarred, his regret at going to film the bodies is tempered only by how many hits the video receives on his website.
Naturally, bigger is better, so Simon and his business partner Thierry need to one-up themselves, and decide that where they once went low, they need to go high – this time, Simon is tasked with filming the bodies of fallen climbers on Everest. I warned you; he’s a shit.
Of course, amid his deception, things are bound to go wrong. And they do; horribly. But Simon is not alone in this – he’s come across the diary of Julia Michaels, a female climber who has her own horrible experiences on the mountain, and using her as a secret motivation, Simon powers through, or at least, tries to.
Sarah Lotz is a manipulative genius of the best kind – she presents the reader with a truly morally inept protagonist, yet one can’t help but cheer him on, despite his lacking of common humanity. In addition, the vastness of the story from the dark crevasses below the earth to some of its highest peaks is absolutely exhilarating and fresh. The White Road takes horror to a new, sneaky level, and it is brilliant. Lotz has no need for monsters or murderers, because she has utilised one of the scariest things in the world – the human mind. Go on, get your goosebumps on, and join Simon on hellish adventures.
The White Road by Sarah Lotz is published by Hodder & Stoughton, and is available in South Africa from Jonathan Ball Publishers.