Thrilling Twists and Turns Keep You Guessing in The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian…Author Q & A included

My Review:

From the Bestselling author of  Midwives and The Flight Attendant comes a compelling new mystery. In The Red Lotus, this twisted and timely thriller, Chris Bohjalian captures our attention once again.  A blossoming love sprinkled with lies cause us to ask, how well do we know the people we care about?

Alexis, an ER doctor and Austin a hospital worker, travel together to Vietnam for an adventurous vacation.  The young couple tours the rural countryside together before Austin heads off on his bike, all alone, to visit the location where he says his uncle served in the war.  And he is never to return.  Alexis, shocked and worried, is asking a lot of questions about her boyfriend’s untimely disappearance.  What looked like a bike accident may not be what it seems, and she is determined to find him and understand the truth.

Details that don’t add up, dead bodies and tampered evidence push Alexis to follow her intuition and use deductive reasoning.  The evidence leads to the discovery of secrets regarding experimental rats in the New York City hospital basement used for scientific testing and a deadly pathogen that threatens the population of Manhattan.

The Red Lotus is a fast paced, engaging novel, representative of Chris Bohjalian’s expertise, and all the more terrifying due to its coincidentally timely release!  I love all his books, this one included.


Author Q & A

Q:  Can you tell me a bit about your new book, The Red Lotus?

A: The Red Lotus is the story of an ER doctor who goes on a bike tour of Vietnam with her new boyfriend, and he disappears. In his absence, she realizes that so much he had told her was a lie and she may be in spectacular amounts of danger — from, among other things, a deadly pathogen. I had the best time interviewing ER doctors, Vietnam veterans, and the scientists who research viruses and vaccines for the book. Here is the :30 teaser:

Q:  What inspired you to write about a pathogen?

A:  I saw two articles in the spring of 2018 about antibiotic resistant pathogens common in NYC. I interviewed a pandemic expert quoted in one and he told me how worried he was about NYC as a nexus for disease. And I was off and running.

Q:  Can you tell me about your writing process?

A:  I start each day around 6 with an 8.4 oz can of Sugar Free Red Bull. I look up words in the dictionary. I watch three or four TV series or movie trailers because they are designed to hit emotional chords. Then, by 6:15, I am writing. I write until lunch. My goal is a 1,000 words a day. I do not always get there. But that’s the goal. I write everyday, even on holidays.

Q:  The Flight Attendant, published in 2018 is coming to the screen.  What can we expect?

A:  The Flight Attendant will be an 8 hour limited series on HBO Max. SO excited about the cast. Kaley Cuoco is astonishing as Cassie Bowden. She is a force of nature.  It should be airing this summer or (depending on Covid-19) the autumn.

Q:  I heard you recently got a new pup.  How’s it going?

A:  Jesse is a love! She sleeps beside me when I write, gets along with the cats, and runs like the wind through the woods.


Q:  You have written so many great books; what are your favorites?

A:  Faves are: Skeletons at the Feast, The Sandcastle Girls, The Flight Attendant, The Red Lotus and The Guest Room.  

Q:  What types of books do you like to read and what can you recommend?

A:  I read a wide variety of literary fiction, historical fiction, and thrillers. I also love history. Here are some books to consider that have just come out and I would hate for you to miss: Writers & Lovers, Long Bright River, Darling Rose Gold

Excerpts of the above have been reissued from an online conversation between Chris Bohjalian and other authors, his friends and fans.    The entire conversation can be seen on the Great Thoughts, Great Readers Facebook Page.

Goodreads Summary



About the Author:

Chris Bohjalian is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 20 books. His work has been translated into 35 languages and three times become movies.

His most recent novel, “The Flight Attendant,” debuted as a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and National Indiebound Bestseller. It was announced in July that it will be a limited TV series from Warner Brothers on HBO Max, starring Kaley Cuoco (who is also an Executive Producer). Filming is expected to start in the autumn of 2019.

His new novel, “The Red Lotus,” arrives on March 17, 2020.

He is also a playwright and screenwriter. His first play, “Grounded,” premiered at the 59 East 59th Theatres in New York City in the summer of 2018 and is now available as an audiobook and eBook, “Wingspan.” He is currently adapting his novel, “Midwives,” for a play, which will premiere January 21, 2020 at the George Street Playhouse, and be directed by David Saint.

His books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon.
His awards include the Walter Cerf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts; the ANCA Freedom Award for his work educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide; the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, as well as the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal; the New England Society Book Award for The Night Strangers; the New England Book Award; Russia’s Soglasie (Concord) Award for The Sandcastle Girls; a Boston Public Library Literary Light; a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans-Sister Radio; a Best Lifestyle Column for “Idyll Banter” from the Vermont Press Association; and the Anahid Literary Award. His novel, Midwives,was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah’s Book Club, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. He is a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest,and The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. He was a weekly columnist in Vermont for The Burlington Free Press from 1992 through 2015.

Chris graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Amherst College. He has been awarded Honorary Degrees as well from Amherst, Champlain College, and Castleton University.

He lives in Vermont with his wife, the photographer Victoria Blewer.
Their daughter, Grace Experience, is a young actor in New York City. Among the audiobooks she has narrated are Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands and The Guest Room.


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