Review: The Lioness

The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian
Publisher: Double Day Books
Pub Date: 5/10/2022

Thank you to PRH Audio for the free audiobook copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Tanzania, 1964. When Katie Barstow, A-list actress, and her new husband, David Hill, decide to bring their Hollywood friends to the Serengeti for their honeymoon, they envision giraffes gently eating leaves from the tall acacia trees, great swarms of wildebeests crossing the Mara River, and herds of zebra storming the sandy plains. Their glamorous guests—including Katie’s best friend, Carmen Tedesco, and Terrance Dutton, the celebrated Black actor who stars alongside Katie in the highly controversial film “Tender Madness”—will spend their days taking photos, and their evenings drinking chilled gin and tonics back at camp, as the local Tanzanian guides warm water for their baths. The wealthy Americans expect civilized adventure: Fresh ice from the kerosene-powered ice maker, dinners of cooked gazelle meat, and plenty of stories to tell over lunch back on Rodeo Drive.

What Katie and her glittering entourage do not expect is this: A kidnapping gone wrong, their guides bleeding out in the dirt, and a team of Russian mercenaries herding them into Land Rovers, guns to their heads. As the powerful sun gives way to night, the gunmen shove them into abandoned huts and Katie Barstow, Hollywood royalty, prays for a simple thing: To see the sun rise one more time. A blistering story of fame, race, love, and death set in a world on the cusp of great change, The Safari is a vibrant masterpiece from one of our finest storytellers.

Review: The Lioness is the first book I’ve read from Chris Bohjalian. This historical thriller takes place in 1964 where a luxurious African safari turns deadly for a famous Hollywood star and her entourage. Overall, I enjoyed this one and it was a five star read! The writing sucked me in from the beginning and I didn’t know where the story was headed. I liked the various perspectives and that each perspective had present day and flashbacks before the trip to get a better understand of the relationships among all the characters. After a chapter or two, I ended up switching from the audiobook to the physical book which I’m glad I did. I’d recommend reading the physical book to get a better reading experience as there are multiple characters to keep track of and love that there’s a character list in the beginning which helps the reader. I really loved that the author’s writing style kept me engaged in the story the whole time. I was surprised to learn from the author that Benjamin’s perspective was the hardest to write. The Lioness will become a series and Chris is an executive producer which I am super excited about! Highly recommend if you love action-packed thrillers!

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