The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian

1. First lines. 2. Published 2020 Penguin Random House 3. Infinity pool by Jonny_Joka [Free for commercial use; no attribution required] via Pixabay 4. Rat silhouette [Public Domain] via Public Domain Pictures 5. Landscape-Vietnam Image by Tuan Hoang [Free for commercial use; No attribution required] via Pixabay
With its pandemic themes, this is eerily close to current events.

Alexis, an American Emergency Room doctor is holidaying in Vietnam with her boyfriend of six months, Austin. When Austin fails to return from a cycling tour, the investigation into his disappearance leads to the discovery of global marketing of pathogens, and Alexis’s life is endangered as she gets closer to the truth of how or if Austen was involved.

“Got to be ready for the next pandemic. Got to have new antibiotics. Got to know what we’re up against. I mean, it’s coming, and New York City is the perfect place for a catastrophe: we have lots of people living in very close quarters. We have lots – and by lots, I mean millions of rodents. We have people coming and going and visiting all the time. We have the subways. In 2015, a guy from Weill Cornell swabbed the subways and found anthrax and the bubonic plague.

“The opposite of a hospice? Not a maternity ward or a NICU. It’s a trick question. The correct answer? An emergency room. In a hospice, you do everything you can to allow people to die. In the ER? You do all that you can to keep them alive.”

~Quotes from “The Red Lotus” by Chris Bohjalian.
  • Washington Post: What could be more suspenseful right now than the question of whether a virulent disease, released into the world, can be contained? In a time filled with unnerving ironies and coincidences, another arrives in Chris Bohjalian’s most recent novel, “The Red Lotus,” which delves into biologically engineered pathogens and the possibility that profiteers and unscrupulous laboratory scientists have created a plague for sale.
  • New York Times: As suspenseful as it is, “The Red Lotus” is also unexpectedly moving — about friendship, about the connections between people and, most of all, about the love of parents for children and of children for parents. Bohjalian is a writer with a big heart and deep compassion for his characters. Just try not to think about the rats. They’re everywhere.
  • Kirkus: Bohjalian manages to keep us guessing and turning pages until the very end.

Author: Chris Bohjalian

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