Red Lotus – Chris Bohjalian

This novel starts off in the ER and only gets more exciting as it goes along.

The Red Lotus is told in close third person, mostly through the eyes of the ER doctor Alexis, but alternates between characters to tell a complicated narrative that pulls the reader into the book. The bulk of the story is set in New York with a few chapters and characters based in the lush and exotic countryside of Vietnam. This juxtaposition offers a welcome contrast to the gritty urban feel of big city USA.

The novel is pacey with plenty of activity and the characters are well drawn, human, and believable. Their motives, fears, hopes and desires all help weave a rich and engaging story.

Considering current events, I loved this book in-spite of the fact that the story revolves around the threat of a world wide pandemic. It was difficult to put down and I finished it quite quickly. My only complaint is that I would have preferred the novel to actually end on the last page of the narrative rather than going into a short epilogue which paints a different feel to the ending.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 coffee beans.

Overall I think this novel would appeal to readers that like thrillers, light sci-fi, and character driven action.

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