#ATBR2020 – The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian

This was what we ended off March with!

Thanks to Doubleday Books for the free early copies in exchange for our honest reviews

THE RED LOTUS – Chris Bohjalian (Released March 17th, 2020)

You can see our thoughts on his other book, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT here!


Book Description:

11 hours

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant comes a twisting story of love and deceit: an American man vanishes on a rural road in Vietnam, and his girlfriend, an emergency room doctor trained to ask questions, follows a path that leads her home to the very hospital where they met.

The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road.

As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, and deals with the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in?

Set amidst the adrenaline-fueled world of the emergency room, The Red Lotus is a global thriller about those who dedicate their lives to saving people, and those who peddle death to the highest bidder.

Chandra’s Thoughts: 3/5 stars

A highly anticipated read that didn’t *quite* reach the mark for me.  However, I think in the face of the current pandemic in the world that has increased at incredible speed (since the public has known about it), this unfortunately impacted my feelings on this read.  Fair or not, it just is.

What I appreciate about this read is the fact that it doesn’t surround itself completely in just the potential pandemic, but in the story of how this comes to be.  We get another story on top of that as it comes from one point of view of Alexis, who is innocent in all this but unfortunately associated because of her relationship with someone who isn’t so innocent.  However, this does make the story a bit slow paced for my particular taste, as I needed this to move along just a little bit faster.  I fear the pacing made it actually less suspenseful … then again, maybe compared to what’s happening now, it doesn’t seem so OMG and more of a YEP, here it is …. again.  WOW with NYC and all the ways there are germs manifesting and ingrained into every part of this mad city – this makes me further look at just HOW busy this city is, the rats, the many things millions of people touch.  Eesh, Bohjalian, you even made me more paranoid and I wasn’t sure that was possible! Haha…. but I realize the comparison of real life to this book isn’t the fault of the author as clearly this was written before real world events and in that aspect – HOLY SHNIKEYS.

We can all agree this author is extremely talented and I always look forward to his releases.  It was more than likely just bad timing and poor mind set for this book to have the impact it may have otherwise for me.

My Thoughts: 3/5 stars

Man, let’s talk about timing here with this book. THE RED LOTUS is my second book by Bohjalian and I was reminded why I so enjoyed THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT as I read through this one. If you’re a fan of his writing, then I think you’ll really enjoy this one, however, do keep in mind that this isn’t a thriller and has a slower pacing to it. I think that will help with the overall reading experience!

Alexis and Austin meet in the ER one night when she removes a bullet from him. A romance soon develops and they travel to Vietnam together to pay respects to where Austin’s father and uncle fought in the war. After Austin disappears, Alexis wants to find him and along the way she discovers more than she ever imagined.

I will warn that there is a lot of information about rats and the transmission of a virus like this, so if that’s not something you’re wanting to dive into, then this might not be the best read for you. A pandemic spread by rodents is definitely not what we want to be thinking about right now with all that’s going on in the world. I did like the overall writing and the way the author set up the story, however, it did take a long time for me to finally feel invested in the characters and for the book to really catch my attention.

If you’re looking for a slower-burn type read, then I think this will be the one for you. If you’re wanting all of the pandemic and outbreak books, then I would also recommend having this on your TBR. I will continue to pick up more from this author and see what he has to offer in the future!


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