Cover Image: Dark Site

Dark Site

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Minotaur Books and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of Dark Site. I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

Former Special Forces operative Sam Dryden did not know that he had hidden memories from his past until an attempted abduction leads the man on a path filled with secrets.  Following a lead to Danica Ellis, a woman also being targeted by the same men that tried to get Sam, will the pair soon realize that the truth about their history has overwhelming repercussions?

As the chapters alternate between the present and the past, readers are treated to the truth a little bit at a time.  Although I did like learning a little bit of Sam Dryden's past, the book itself was just not as good as the previous offerings.  Sam Dryden has the potential to be a great character, as he is strong, intelligent, and determined, but Dark Site really does not showcase any of his talents.  This book was just average, as it contained little more than a glimpse into Sam and Danica's past.  I would recommend Runner and Signal, the first two books in this series, but I am hesitant to give the nod to this book.
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I really enjoyed this addition to the Sam Dryden story. I just love Lee's writing. I feel like the story flows so well. 

In this installation we get to see Sam as a 12 year old boy and I thought the jumps back in time were well-done adding to the storyline and giving you a steady stream of information. I liked the way the characters in the present day were learning about things that happened in the past as you read about them yourself. There is some suspension of disbelief, but not too much. I was able to brush it aside and just enjoy the story. 

I'm not sure if this story is meant to be a trilogy; it wrapped up pretty well in the ending making me think this may be the last one. However, I really hope we get to meet Sam and Danica again.
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DARK SITE: A Sam Dryden Novel
Patrick Lee
Minotaur Books

 It has been almost four years since the last Sam Dryden novel by Patrick Lee, SIGNAL, has been published. It nonetheless remains one of my favorites. One reason is that it contains the most confounding and ingenious opening chapters that one is likely to encounter in a contemporary work of literature. We are now blessed with the publication of DARK SITE, the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated third novel in the series, and, as with its predecessors, it succeeds on all levels. 

Sam Dryden is a former special forces operative who in the present of the series seeks to do nothing more or less than buy, refurbish, and resell old houses in the great Los Angeles area. He makes a good living doing it and can see constructive results. Something always gets in his way, however, and it doesn’t take long for that “something” --- in the form of an armed assailant who makes it clear that Dryden will leave with him, either dead or alive --- to manifest itself. Dryden eliminates the danger but in a very unique and believable way discovers that a woman named Danica Ellis is in danger as well from the same people. Dryden immediately stops what he is doing and in due course initiates a rescue. What neither Dryden or Ellis can figure out is why they have been targeted, or by whom. They are the same age but neither of them knows the other or have ever seen them. They set out to try to determine what they could possibly have in common. The only clue they have, at least initially, is a document which Ellis’s step-father has given to her. Dryden recognizes it as a “scrub file,” which is a record of what someone knew prior to their memories being chemically destroyed. While the scrub file does not have their names on it --- the subjects are identified only by code numbers --- reference is made to the subjects having witnessed events at a secret military site in the now-abandoned town of Ashland, Iowa in 1989. Both Ellis and Dryden recall living in Ashland in 1989, when they were both twelve years old, though neither of them recalls the other. 

They are both wrong, of course, and what Lee does in this wondrously imaginative novel is jump back and forth in time between the present of DARK SITE --- September 2018 --- and it’s past --- July 1989 --- with the result being that the reader knows more (though not everything) than do the tale’s protagonist throughout most of the book. It is an extremely strong plot device, utilized in the hands of a master. The story moves along quite quickly, so that even with the breaks in time that take place in DARK SITE there is simply no good place to stop reading, not that one will want to in any event. There are multiple ticking clocks in DARK SITE, even in the past. What is unknown could fill a couple of books. There is in the present the “who” that wants to abduct Ellis and Dryden, the “what” that concerns what they are trying to conceal and the “why,” while the same questions --- with possibly the same answers --- continue to play out in the past. It’s a clever, smart story, with the only disappointment being that it’s not twice as long. 

DARK SITE reminded me by turns of the works of authors Blake Crouch and Lee Child as well as the television series Stranger Things. At its heart, however, it is all Patrick Lee. If you enjoy unusual novels which gently straddle genres and leave you wondering what is going to happen next with almost no hope of guessing correctly then you need some Patrick Lee in your life, and DARK SITE is a terrific place to start. Strongly recommended. 

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
© Copyright 2019, The Book Report, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Definitely another page-turner from Patrick Lee.

FIRST SENTENCE: "The last decision Danica Ellis made in her ordinary life - the life in which stress meant playing chicken with the rent due-date, and wondering if going back to school was another slow-motion train wreck of a mistake - was whether to buy sixty watt or hundred-watt light bulbs."

THE STORY: Two people who do not know each other barely escape attempted abductions. Thus begins another wild adventure featuring Sam Dryden, a retired military special forces experienced with off-the-books black op work.

As he an Danni try to solve the riddle of their connection while running from an unknown foe.

WHAT I THOUGHT:  Rather than the roller coaster ride of Runner (2014), Dark Site has an amazing start and then is interrupted by lots of exhausting back story in great detail.

The flashbacks to the past when Danni and Sam were twelve doesn't read like real children, but those are minor complaints in a story that will keep you up past your bedtime.

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended but I would read Runner first, not for any background but because I still think it is the better book.

Disclaimer: A copy of Dark Site was provided to me by Minotaur Books/Net Galley for a fair review.

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher:  Minotaur Books (May 28, 2019)
ISBN-10: 125003079X
ISBN-13:  978-1250030795
PATRICK LEE is the author of the Sam Dryden novels, Runner and Signal, as well as the bestselling novels: The Breach, Ghost Country, and Deep Sky. Patrick Lee lives in Michigan.
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The story caught my attention fairly quickly with the attempted kidnappings and the fact that Sam Dryden and Danica soon become entwined in a fairly complex mystery. As it unfolds and the chapters begin to go back and forth between the present and 1989, the connection between the two becomes more and more clear. But the two can only remember parts of their past. Will they work fast enough to solve this mystery before someone attempts to kidnap them again? Or worse.

In time I started to wonder if this unique and well-thought-out story was going to cross over into another genre. What I’m referring to contributes to making this review a little harder to write, since I don’t want to give too much of the plot away. But it remained true to the genre I love!

What Concerned Me: 
After while the jumping back and forth of the chapters and revealing one thing at a time began to slow the book down. At times the chapters felt a bit too detailed and the book too long.

I also felt that the 1989 chapters didn’t really reflect the actions of twelve-year-olds.  Perhaps they do, but it felt like the characters were acting older.

What I liked Best: 
Dark Site was without a doubt unique and kept me reading. The characters were interesting and the story, though not a nail-biter for me, was one that was hard to put down.
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OMG.  For thrillers, Patrick Lee's Sam Dryden is just about the best.  He hits the ground running and never stops.  He makes Jack Reacher look like a ninny.  One morning, Sam eludes an attempt to abduct him.  That same day a woman is also targeted by an assault team and he manages to save her.  Their only clue to why is a heavily redacted report given her by her father. And it gets more and more complicated after that, and more and more dangerous.  The story also delves into the past when the two actually did know each other, though that time has been erased from their memory.  Yup, very suspicious.  An intense, psychological thriller, with lots of action that will keep you up nights reading.  Highly recommended.
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Gripping! Sam and Danica find themselves in a situation that seems unreal. Someone is trying to silence them and they are desperate to find out why. The more secrets they uncover, the more danger they become in. As they fight for their lives and run from their enemies they grow closer and closer together. This is a well written story. The characters are well developed and plot development is excellent. Sam is hero’s hero, strong and dependable. Danica has the strength of character when needed and makes a great sidekick for Sam. The story ends beautifully for the couple.
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Another Sam Dryden thriller by Patrick Lee. When Sam is attacked and almost abducted, but doesn’t know why, he uses his assailants’ phone to find out why. Instead of the reason why, he learns that someone else will be abducted and contacts the local police with the person’s address. When he arrives at the address, an officer has been shot and he is barely able to save Danica Ellis from abduction. Sam and Danica will search for clues as to why they were targeted. The story will effortlessly move from the present to their past…the past that they don’t remember. Why do they both have the same period, in their past, that they can’t remember? When they find out why, they know that their lives are in danger and they return to the town that they were forced to forget. Sam is former military and the people after him and Danica have no idea of his skill level and what he is capable of. A thrill ride through the past and present with two main characters who are strong and willing to do whatever is necessary to survive. I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)
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I enjoyed this book.  Thank you for letting me read it Net Galley.
I have read all of Patrick Lee's books.  I loved Ghost Country and the two other books in the series featuring Travis Chase.  Excellent!  
This is the third in the series about Sam Dryden, a former Special Ops guy.  Someone tries to assassinate him and using the phone he finds he learns that someone else is being targeted. Danica Ellis. is attacked outside the grocery store and gets away, Sam and Danica together try to find out what is going on.  
It turns outs both of their memories have been scrubbed. This book goes back and forth from the past when the action they no longer have memories of and today when they are trying to find out what is going on.  
This starts out fast and continues the whole way until we find out what is going on.  It is a little farfetched.  But the writing is tight and very good.  I recommend this book highly.  I also recommend the first two books too.  Please not you do not have to read the first two to really enjoy this book
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A kidnapping attempt in the early hours of the morning leaves Danica Ellis shaken.  With no family, no money and no enemies she can’t understand why anyone would want her.  Hours later, at another location, an attempt is made to kidnap Sam Dryden, a military veteran who now flips houses for a living.  After overcoming and disarming his attacker, he finds an address on the attacker’s phone.  It is the home of Danica’s step-father, where she is once again under attack.  Danica is able to retrieve a file that her mother kept that refers to the witness nullification of two subjects, known as a scrub file.

Danica and Dryden have no memories of ever meeting one another.  In comparing notes, however, they discover that both suffered “accidents” at the age of twelve that left them with no memories of several months in their lives.  Now America is under an imminent terrorist threat and the missing memories may be the only thing that can stop it.  An FBI agent takes them to the town where they both lived as children in an effort to trigger their memories.  Dryden and Danica intuitively find small clues, but something happened in that town that causes nightmares to this day.

Patrick Lee’s story takes you from the present to 1989, when Sam’s father took a job in Ashland.  In a nearby park Sam meets Danica, who has been living in Ashland for several months.  Despondent over the loss of her friend Lauren, who left suddenly without even saying goodbye, she befriends Sam and begins to point out the peculiarities of Ashland that she and her friend had discovered.  This is a town where nothing is as it seems.  No one shops in the stores and in the local diner they can not even provide the food that is advertised on their menu.  Then there are the underground facilities that they find during their explorations, leading to the discovery of an experiment gone wrong that poses the present threat.

From the opening pages of Lee’s novel you will find yourself on the edge of your seat..  Danica and Dryden sense a tie between them that allows them to work well together and alternating chapters between past and present gives the reader an opportunity to view developments through the eyes of two resourceful children who now, as adults, are aware of the evil that surrounded them.

This is Patrick Lee’s third Sam Dryden novel and I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.  Fans of Jack Reacher will not be disappointed after spending time with this character.  I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin Press for providing this book for my review..
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This is the third Sam Dryden book, it could be read as a stand-alone though reading the other two (Runner, Signal) would benefit with background on Sam’s military history.  Typical of a Dryden book, the action starts from the first page, a woman, Danica, is the subject of an attempted abduction, she’s able to escape.  Dryden, at nearly the same time in another location, is also the subject of an attempted abduction, he also gets away.  He’s able to figure out, by using the bad guy’s phone, who had died during the attempt, that Danica is going to be abducted again from another location. Dryden gets there in time to thwart that abduction and they both go on the run.  The story is told in two timelines, the present and from 1989 during a period when Dryden’s father had moved the family to Ashland, Iowa as part of a work transfer. Danica also lives in Ashland with her family and her and Dryden become friends. The bulk of the novel is from 1989, during a time period that Dryden and Danica have no memory of in the present day. Ashland is actually a military R&D site where a weapon had been secretly developed. A weapon that in the present day is going to be deployed against a civilian location. Dryden and Danica in the present race to figure out who targeted them and end up team up with the FBI to try and stop the weapon from being used.  In 1989 they see something that they should not have and have their memories chemically erased, which is why they have no memory of that time period.  It’s difficult to summarize this book, a lot happens in it. The action is intense and the chapters go by quickly.  A very enjoyable novel, I look forward to the next one.
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Sam Dryden is back in another fast-paced, breath stealing thriller.  Dryden and a woman named Danica, two people who apparently don’t know each other, are brought together by separate events with one common denominator; somebody wants to kidnap both of them.  As the story unfolds we discover that they are wanted for something they saw as 12 year-olds.  But both of them have no memory of that summer 30 years ago and their lives may depend on them filling in the blank pages of that summer.  Or is their amnesia what's keeping them alive? The action plays back and forth between the present and 1989 and Lee makes it easy to follow by referring to Sam Dryden as Sam in 1989 and as Dryden when in the present. This pendulum style lends itself to a number of cliff hanger chapter endings and the temptation to read ahead is a definite challenge to resist.

The story is told like a card game and Patrick Lee is an excellent croupier.  The cards are dealt face down and then one by one each player reveals a card, each card a piece of the plot, until the showdown between the final two players – Dryden and the enemy.
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Patrick Lee has written a worthy sequel to The Runner with Dark Site. looking forward to more featuring Sam Dryden.
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Sam Dryden is almost kidnapped after inspecting a house he wants to buy and flip. From the cellphone of the kidnapper, he learns that Danica Ellis is in danger of also being kidnapped, so he races to find her and save her. Dryden and Ellis end up in FBI custody and back in Iowa where they both lived during their childhood, except neither of them remember it. It appears their memories have been stripped by someone or something. The book moves back and forth in time between 1989 and present day. What did they witness in 1989 that was so monumental that the U.S. Army chemically stripped their memories? As Sam and Dani work to recover their memories, a hostile group is working to keep them ignorant and re-activate the evils of Ashland, Iowa. Edge-of-the-seat pacing will keep you reading long into the night.
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It's been awhile since we've seen ole Sam Dryden (2015, Signal) and I was beginning to think that maybe we wouldn't be getting anything else from Patrick Lee.  So, imagine my delight when I spotted Dark Site on Netgalley. 

I've been a fan of Patrick Lee's since the first book.  I happened to pick up a copy of The Breach at the library; it looked like it would be right in my wheelhouse and it had a blurb by Lee Child right there on the front (I've seen a lot of Lee Child blurbs since, even on some real stinkers.)  But, I thought he was right on about The Breach and I had happily stumbled upon another great series.  This is Patrick's 6th novel (3rd in this particular series) and, I believe, he has managed to go 6-for-6 in Chris's 5 gold stars department.

As you can imagine, ex-special forces bad-ass Sam Dryden as seen some things, man.  But he just wants to settle down, flip houses, make a living that doesn't involve huge government conspiracies and machine guns.  But can you believe that someone would have the nerve to try to kill him while he's out house hunting?  Is it the government? Are they terrorists?  Both?

The only thing Sam knows is that he is completely clueless as to the who and why of the whole thing and so the mystery begins.

The plot ends up being fairly complex, so to try to sum it up in a short synopsis would be doing a disservice to what ended up being a real roller coaster ride of a story.  The story starts off fairly straight forward with Sam on the run and trying to track down leads that will hopefully shed some light on why he's being hunted, then the twists and turns start as more information is revealed and Sam realizes what an eyeball deep pile of shit he has found himself in.  The story hinges upon something that Sam and friends witnessed as children, but present day Sam has no memory of said something, but it's important/serious enough that someone wants him dead.

The story then starts bouncing between present day Sam and Co. and 12 year old Sam and Co. and more action unfolds.  In places, I thought the story bogged down a bit.  Past Sam and present Sam find themselves in the same position (people are after him) and a lot of running is involved.  But, what I think is great about Lee's writing is how he is so adept at blending the action and the suspense and the quasi-supernatural and the technology and the science and the conspiracies all together and coming out with a really entertaining story.  That's what ultimately does it for me every time. 

It was a long wait between books but it was worth it.  Hopefully it won't be 2023 before we seen some new Patrick Lee, but if it is, I know it will be great.
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I am a big fan of Patrick Lee. His series starting with The Breach were phenomenal! Dark Site is interesting and well-written.The idea that such places might exist is intriguing,and his descriptions are vivid.As usual,the action is intense;you are riveted to your seat. I liked this story,but it didn’t compare to the earlier Runner or Signal novels in this series.Nevertheless,I enjoyed it,and I look forward to his next book!
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A book that initially I did not know what to make of it, turned out to be a really well written book. It starts with two attempted abductions of seemingly random people and leads into a well thought out story different from anything I have read in a while. Two teenagers who grew up on a secret military base, see something they shouldn't have and have their memories erased. The book switches back between time frames but the action keeps the book moving and the reader hooked. A good book that was a little more sci/fi than I expected but added to the story. 
Thank you Patrick Lee, St. Martin's Press  and Minotaur Books for the ARC for my review.
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Sam Dryden, the protagonist from Runner and Signal is back in this exciting thriller, which I read in an afternoon.

When Sam successfully evades an abduction attempt he discovers that he is not the only target. He manages to save Danica and the two of them are left wondering what the connection is. They do not recognise each other at all and have no connection whatsoever - or so it seems.

What follows is an enticing novel full of mystery and action that moves between 1989 and 2018. Initially I thought Danica's character didn't seem quite in keeping with a 40 year old woman but I quickly forgot about that as I was absorbed by the story. Sam is the perfect action hero, capable but not arrogant and thankfully not one of the now overdone,  hopelessly flawed hero's. I will definitely read another Sam Dryden novel.

A most entertaining read.

A hearty thank you to #Netgalley and #StMartinsPress for the ARC of #DarkSite in exchange for my honest review.
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