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The Lioness

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A luxurious African safari turns deadly for a Hollywood starlet and her entourage in this riveting historical thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant 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 gent A luxurious African safari turns deadly for a Hollywood starlet and her entourage in this riveting historical thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant 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.


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A luxurious African safari turns deadly for a Hollywood starlet and her entourage in this riveting historical thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant 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 gent A luxurious African safari turns deadly for a Hollywood starlet and her entourage in this riveting historical thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant 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.

30 review for The Lioness

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    The Lioness was born in a movie theater. I emerged from a matinee in August 2019, squinting against the high summer sun, and thought to myself, "My God, I love movies. Why have I never written a Hollywood novel?” Movies are magic and the experience of a movie theater is transporting. I wanted my novel to capture the glamor of vintage Hollywood, and be a character-driven thriller. And so I set it in 1964 in Hollywood and East Africa, two worlds in transition. A safari would go horribly wrong. Ima The Lioness was born in a movie theater. I emerged from a matinee in August 2019, squinting against the high summer sun, and thought to myself, "My God, I love movies. Why have I never written a Hollywood novel?” Movies are magic and the experience of a movie theater is transporting. I wanted my novel to capture the glamor of vintage Hollywood, and be a character-driven thriller. And so I set it in 1964 in Hollywood and East Africa, two worlds in transition. A safari would go horribly wrong. Imagine The Poisonwood Bible meets And Then There Were None — or, perhaps, Natalie Wood meets Agatha Christie. I was very lucky: I was able to research it on a safari in the Serengeti in December 2019, just before the world would shut down. I wrote it in the first year of the pandemic, and writing about Hollywood and the Serengeti 50 years ago helped keep me sane when I was alone in my library in Vermont. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. To 2022 — and what words and reading and books (and movies) can mean to the soul.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    ***NOW AVAILABLE*** From the VERY EXTENSIVE blurb you already know so much about the book! The novel takes place in 1960’s Africa, the Serengeti. Katie Bastrow, a Hollywood star, decides to celebrate her wedding by taking an entourage of guests on an African safari. This will be a “photo” safari for most of them. They are settled into their home base and spend an enjoyable few days watching the wildlife and taking photos. On the morning of the planned Safari, they are being settled into their La ***NOW AVAILABLE*** From the VERY EXTENSIVE blurb you already know so much about the book! The novel takes place in 1960’s Africa, the Serengeti. Katie Bastrow, a Hollywood star, decides to celebrate her wedding by taking an entourage of guests on an African safari. This will be a “photo” safari for most of them. They are settled into their home base and spend an enjoyable few days watching the wildlife and taking photos. On the morning of the planned Safari, they are being settled into their Land Rovers by the guides when the following happens: “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” This is NOT A SPOILER, ALL OF THIS IS IN THE BLURB. WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE BOOK: The premise sounded interesting and exciting! The location of Tanzania was described along with many animals including, giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, exotic birds. WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT THIS BOOK: The number of characters is just crazy!! There are 10 people in Katie’s entourage plus another 5 in the crew leading the safari!! Add to that the Russian mercenaries and I wasn’t able to connect to any of them!! CHARACTER OVERLOAD!! The story could have been so good and exciting if not for the fact that as soon as something of interest or excitement occurs – WE STOP. Yes we stop and a new chapter is begun along with articles from the newspaper about either the Hollywood stars or the trip. We then switch to another character. Any excitement that I felt was quickly flattened by the continuous stops in the story. It seems as though Mr. Bohjalian tried to address too many topics here. The novel touches on fame, race, cultural differences and Russian and American politics, everything is thrown into this story. For me this book was a chore to read. The exciting part came at 90% on my Kindle when we finally find out what this kidnapping is all about!! I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    The Lioness starts off on a suspenseful note and never lets up. Katie Barstow and her new husband David take off with 7 friends on an African photo safari in 1964. But within days, they are taken hostage by Russian mercenaries at gunpoint, several of their guides shot dead. The group is divided into three, with each playing out very differently. Each chapter features a different character’s POV to provide backstory and move things forward. Initially, I had to pay close attention to keep them str The Lioness starts off on a suspenseful note and never lets up. Katie Barstow and her new husband David take off with 7 friends on an African photo safari in 1964. But within days, they are taken hostage by Russian mercenaries at gunpoint, several of their guides shot dead. The group is divided into three, with each playing out very differently. Each chapter features a different character’s POV to provide backstory and move things forward. Initially, I had to pay close attention to keep them straight, even with the list of characters provided at the beginning of the book. But each character was unique enough, as well as fully fleshed out, to soon easily keep straight. The story is different in that we hear from characters as they die. This isn’t a happy story where everyone survives. In fact, it’s almost the opposite and I began to wonder if anyone would survive. The violent creatures here are both two and four legged. The story dwells on strength, courage and the things we’re willing to do to survive. Those of you that consistently read my reviews know I have a definitive definition of what makes a book historical fiction, as opposed to a story that takes place in a different time. This is historical fiction at its best. It tackles the involvement of the US and Russia in Africa in a meaningful way. A trigger warning - if violence upsets you, steer clear of this book. It’s good, but it’s extremely graphic. My thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for an advance copy of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Whew!!!!! …. Wow!!! FANTASTIC…. gotta bring my heart rate down - get some sleep - Review soon 😴 REVIEW: I already expressed my immediate response: FANTASTIC…. so ….now I’ll attempt to write a review….. NOTE…. with Chris Bohjalian books — I tend to avoid other reviews until I’ve read his books myself. And… I learned long ago — not to ask for an early-advance copy — his publisher has never once - ever- granted me an advance copy of any book they published. Fair enough…so I’ve stopped asking. I’ve met Ch Whew!!!!! …. Wow!!! FANTASTIC…. gotta bring my heart rate down - get some sleep - Review soon 😴 REVIEW: I already expressed my immediate response: FANTASTIC…. so ….now I’ll attempt to write a review….. NOTE…. with Chris Bohjalian books — I tend to avoid other reviews until I’ve read his books myself. And… I learned long ago — not to ask for an early-advance copy — his publisher has never once - ever- granted me an advance copy of any book they published. Fair enough…so I’ve stopped asking. I’ve met Chris three times - at book readings—and not only is he one of the nicest guys on the planet — no other author is a more gifted speaker: funny, stimulating, personable, equally as he is an accomplished author. I’ve read at least 20 of his 23 books: ….One I didn’t care for - a couple were fair- but most….were thoroughly enjoyable. “The Lioness” goes to the top of my ‘all-time’ page turning -exciting - Bohjalian-BEST. I felt the excitement from the moment I opened the first page — of dedications. My juices were flowing while getting introduced to the large cast of characters. Something Stephen King pulls off well. Add Chris Bohjalian to that list too. Personally….next to “The Double Bind”….a psychological memorable literary thriller, Chris Bohjalian wrote years ago ….this is my favorite thriller he’s written. I like his straight Historical Fiction….and admire books close to Chris’s heart and family heritage….but in my opinion, it’s his literary thrillers that sparkle and shine with brilliance. Never to experience a ‘cookie-cutter’ thriller from Bohjalian. Chris, Amherst educated, is simply an above-average literary thriller-contender- to hold up against our most talented American authors living authors today. “The Lioness” has everything…literary thriller, historical fiction, political history, contemporary experience, racial issues, adventure, murder, suspense, and Chris’s exceptional intelligent prose…. …..creating picturesque beautification in landscape- narrative - inner musing trimmings from the Hollywood entourage —making for a grand overall combo-encounter between the American’s from their privileged California lifestyles to the reality fears they face in Serengeti, Africa….in the year of 1964. Dedication inspirations: “When I was hanging on by my fingernails, you gave me your hand. You are my safari” “Everything I learned, I learned from the movies”. …..Audrey Hepburn “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, and where are you stop your story”. …..Orion Wells Prologue: “Oh, I can’t speak for the dead. And I won’t speak for the missing. I can only tell you what I think happened. Others—the dead and the missing—would probably have their own versions. Blame, I can tell you firsthand, is every bit as subjective as truth”. A little useful history: (which ‘might’ be valuable to ‘some’ readers before taking on this mega-adventure)… …..The Serengeti ecosystem is a geographical region of Africa, spanning northern Tanzania. It’s also renowned for its large lion population (over 3,000), and is one of the best places to observe prides in their natural environment. The name Serengeti is often said to be derived from the word seringit in the Maasai language. The Serengeti has some of East Africa’s finest game areas. …..Africa was changing and everyone knew it was. Many of the people who went there in 1964 died. In 1964, Nelson Mandela said….”I am prepared to die”. …..March 21, 1960, police officers in a black township in South Africa opened fire on a group of people peacefully protesting oppressive pass laws, killing 69. …..The anniversary of The Shapeville Massacre is remembered the world over every March 21 on International Day for the Elimination of Radical discrimination. Back to our historical-literary-thriller-travel-adventure novel: Be clear….. “The story was never about Western, privileged tourists or local Maasai or Tanzanians. It was never about rich or poor, Americans or Africans. We were all just people, and most of us had no idea what was happening”. “The mantra for most of us? Just stay alive. See if, we might see the sun rise one more time”. Katie Barstow had just gotten married in Los Angeles to David Hill. They were bringing along an entourage of guests, (nine Americans in all, plus the tour guides), with them to Africa on a safari. The year was 1964. Personal share …. …..when I read ‘any’ book (Stephen King is a great example)…that offers up a cast list at the start… I spend extra time studying their names and relationships— It’s only after I have a solid memory and a basic tidbit experience of who the players are — do I start to play ball. Readers can never catch up to who everyone is — unless they ground themselves first with the equipment/characters they are handed. Once the reader prepares themselves — never having to once again ask themselves….”now who was that character again?”….they can move forward - read with confidence and so much more joy….immersed themselves with the captivating storytelling….contemplate the characters individual backgrounds…and dive in deeply. It’s ‘always’ to the readers benefits to get a grasp on who the characters are …..especially with a large cast SO THAT ….reading is effortless…. So….my suggestion to those who have not read this book - but are considering doing so…..STUDY the cast - become very familiar with each name. (Shouldn’t take more than 30-40 minutes)….it will save time and frustration down the line. Instead …the book becomes a joyride. And….Google-your-bones away with Tanzania, 1964 before you begin — if need to brush up on some basic history. I promise it will ultimately increase page turning reading enjoyment. So….I’ve include the cast list….(perhaps it’s helpful for some readers): The Safari The Registered Guest List: MARRIED COUPLES …David Hill: gallerist - married to Katie Barstow …Katie Barstow: A-list actress …Billy Stepanov: psychiatrist and Katie Barstow’s older brother. …Margie Stepanov: homemaker. …Felix Demeter: screenwriter … Carmen Tedesco: a successful supporting actress SINGLE GUESTS: …Terrance Dutton: The only Black actor in the group: and a gifted visual artist. …Reggie Stout: Katie Barstow’s publisher. …Peter Merriam: Katie Barstow’s agent. TEAM LEADERS: …Charlie Patton: owner of Charles Patton Safari Adventures. …Juma Sykes: head African guide. …Muema Kambona: second guide. …Benjamin Kilwete: porter guest liaison. The group, driving in a Land Rover, would be pausing often for the Serengeti’s great menagerie of animals. Zebras, giraffes, lions….they never knew how much they would see. Ha!!! THEY REALLY NEVER KNEW WHAT THEY WOULD SEE UNTIL…..it was too late… Juma, the African tour guide was in his 70s. He seemed like a school teacher with the Americans. “He didn’t merely want them to see the Serengeti: he wanted them to understand it. It was a world that he loved and a world he loved sharing”. Some sample excerpts….( just for tidbit flavoring)… ……just a simple happening: “Benjamin noticed a dung beetle trying to roll a piece of elephant shit it had meticulously shaped into a marble up and out of the rut, but the rut was like a canal to the insect. Twice the beetle had almost pushed the excrement over the side and onto the flat dirt beyond, and each time the weight of the dung had been too much and it rolled back over the creature to the bottom of the track”. “Sometimes a marriage lasts a lifetime. Sometimes it lasts five years. What is that great Oscar Wilde quote? The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death” “God they’d christened themselves the lions of Hollywood at the wedding, and raised champagne to the idea. The seven of them, minus Katie and David, who were already in Paris, had greeted each other that way, half kidding but also a little smug, when they’d rendezvoused at the airport in L.A. a week later. The movie mags even called them that when they wrote about the safari: the lions of Hollywood. Well, he’d taken a life, but he was no lion. He was just. . .” “He couldn’t say. He did not feel remorse, but neither did he feel pride. He was focused only on survival”. “As many as three hundred Americans and Belgians are still held hostage at the Victoria Hotel in Stanleyville. The Simba leaders insist they are being treated well, but no one here has forgotten the cruelties inflicted on the nuns who were taken hostage only last month. Meanwhile, whites continue to flee the Eastern Congo, sometimes passing a gauntlet of Russian and even Cuban soldiers, who are aiding the rebels” —Los Angeles Times, November 20, 1964 “The Lioness” has everything: … political strife, gripping tension suspense, a kidnapping nightmare by the Russian mercenaries, a down-to-earth-relatable cast (we know them enough without being bombarded with too much personal drama) > they were perfect size group to ‘scary-ass-safari’ with! (Kudos to Chris Bohjalian’s skills) The entire ethereal descriptions scanning horrors of squeamish visuals were unrestrained and outlandish….with a satisfying ending. Absolutely—this is one of Chris’s best books … an ambitious intelligent panoramic savvy historical-political-personable-literary thriller that screams, FILM ME!! 🫦👁

  5. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Everything bites on the grasslands of the Serengeti.......but not as fiercely as the piercing of human canines. Chris Bohjalian has spread his storyline broadly from the expanses of the Hollywood movie sets to the plains of Africa in the 1960's. We will meet a group of people who have earned their fame and also those who cling to the hem of the elite and the successful. Katie Barstow is a young starlette who has made a name for herself in Hollywood. But that Barstow name was never hers. Katie was Everything bites on the grasslands of the Serengeti.......but not as fiercely as the piercing of human canines. Chris Bohjalian has spread his storyline broadly from the expanses of the Hollywood movie sets to the plains of Africa in the 1960's. We will meet a group of people who have earned their fame and also those who cling to the hem of the elite and the successful. Katie Barstow is a young starlette who has made a name for herself in Hollywood. But that Barstow name was never hers. Katie was born Katie Stepanov to the Broadway duo of plays and musicals, Roman and Glenda Stepanov. Katie and her brother, Billy, grew up in the strangest household where Billy took the brunt of the abuse. He's now a psychologist and recently married to Margie. But it was Katie who was always destined to be a star. Katie has just married David Hill, an owner of an art gallery. She informs her friends that they will be accompanying the newlyweds on their honeymoon on a safari in Africa......all expenses paid. Prepare yourself for this group: 9 Americans made up of 6 men and 3 women. The storyline will pick up the pace as we learn the backstories on each. Believe me, each will either sink or swim because of their experiential backgrounds. Like the spider to the flies on an African web of giant proportions. Even Ernest Hemingway from Mombasa to Nairobi to Kenya would never have been equipped to face what this group of travelers will face within these days. The Lioness is pulled tautly across these pages with nerve endings jangling in the process. Bohjalian has done an immense amount of research for this time period in the 1960's and the interlopers who make their way onto the African continent. I was totally immersed in this storyline with this strange bevy of characters. And at the core we will have non-stop actions and reactions aplenty. Be aware that the telling is detailed for a reason. And it is intense for a reason. I highly recommend this one if you are one to step forward for a taste of adventure. All others may take to the dance floor instead. Congrats to Bohjalian. Well done. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Doubleday Books and to the talented Chris Bohjalian for the opportunity.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    A walloping good yarn. To date, Chris Bohjalian has nearly two dozen published novels to his credit. All those many years at his keyboard have paid off - The Lioness is a masterfully constructed tale, one that will keep any reader eagerly turning the pages to see what happens next and next. The American author frames his tale thusly: it's 1964 and Hollywood movie star Katie Barstow organizes something special for her honeymoon: an all expenses paid African safari for not only her and her new husb A walloping good yarn. To date, Chris Bohjalian has nearly two dozen published novels to his credit. All those many years at his keyboard have paid off - The Lioness is a masterfully constructed tale, one that will keep any reader eagerly turning the pages to see what happens next and next. The American author frames his tale thusly: it's 1964 and Hollywood movie star Katie Barstow organizes something special for her honeymoon: an all expenses paid African safari for not only her and her new husband David Hill but also seven other women and men from Tinseltown. Once in the Serengeti in Northern Tanzania, after some days traveling to observe and photo wildlife, armed Russians surround their camp, murder three African guides, order Katie and her group into a pair of Land Rovers and drive them all away - dream vacation turned kidnapping nightmare. In the spirit of a Hollywood movie trailer, here's a number of Lioness highlights - FORESHADOWING IN SPADES We're given a taste of what's to come in the novel's Prologue delivered by one of the American participants. “Oh, I can't speak for the dead. And I won't speak for the missing. I can only tell you what I think happened....The mantra for most of us? Just stay alive. See if, somehow, we might see the sun rising one more time." MEDIA FLASH The thirty-one chapters begin with a clip from the likes of The Hollywood Reporter, Movie Star Confidential, The LA Times providing a snip from the glamorous lives of these LA luminaries. The media gossip and chitchat serve as stark contrast to the suffering, pain and tragedy under the African sun. THE PLAYERS PLUS ONE Each chapter focuses on one of the nine Americans and an African porter. Chris Bohjalian folds in the backstory of each person and in this way we get to know and care about everyone undergoing the ordeal, their personality, their feelings and emotions, their pains and fears. And then, supremely effective, as the drama unfolds, the author cycles back and gives each character (if they're still alive, that is) a second chapter and then a third. SUPPORTING CAST Katie hires Charles Patton, owner of Charles Patton Safari Adventures, and his staff of more than a dozen Africans (all Black) to guide and support them on their trek across the Serengeti. Patton (no relation to the famous military leader as he's quick to point out) is an old school Brit type and seasoned hunter who knew Hemingway. The inclusion of Charles Patton adds much color and deepens the drama. WILDLIFE The African setting counts for so much. Mr. Bohjalian participated in his own safari and his firsthand experience shows. His writing about the flora and fauna is vivid and detailed. Not only did I come to know Katie and the others but I actually had the real sense I was right there, sharing the same land and sky with the lions, leopards, elephants, wildebeest, zebras, rhinos, hippos, baboons, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas, jackals, antelopes, vultures and snakes. KATIE BARSTOW Raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan by parents who were themselves stars on Broadway, Katie escaped to Hollywood to be at least three time zones away from her despicable parents, especially loathsome mom, a half-crazy, overly possessive dipstick with a strong sadistic streak. But sweet, charming, charismatic Katie became a 1960s film star, a good actress “in part because of the scars and wounds from her childhood.” Perhaps not surprising, Katie never could get seriously romantic with another actor; rather, she married an owner of a small, not-so-successful LA art gallery. DAVID HILL Katie's husband David also grew up on the Upper West Side and knew Katie ever since she was a little girl, back before she changed her name from Katie Stepanov. David struggles financially with his art gallery and knows he can't borrow money from the bank and “his parents certainly weren't going to lend him the money: whatever the hell his father had done with the OSS and did now with the CIA – personnel, really? - it wasn't lucrative.” Hey, David, what exactly does your father do with the CIA? David was never told and remains clueless. BILLY STEPANOV Katie's brother Billy was mom's prime victim, frequently locking little Billy in a pitch dark closet of their Manhattan apartment as punishment for disobeying her orders. Is it any surprise Billy grew up to be a successful LA therapist, a man forever capable of identifying with his patient's psychic traumas. Billy brings along pregnant wife Margie on Katie's safari although Billy hates flying. “When he self-diagnosed his own demons, he attributed his fear of flying to that closet. It wasn't really about being five miles off the ground, it wasn't the idea of traveling 550 miles an hour; it was about being trapped in a metal tube from which there was not escape. It was about claustrophobia.” CARMEN TEDESCO Katie's good friend, Carmen is also a Hollywood star actress, not quite the celebrity of Katie but she's up there. Carmen is small in stature but her survival instinct and character are rock solid. When the Russians start shooting and give the command that their captives lie face down in the dirt, Carmen is appalled at her screenwriter husband's behavior. “Carmen had no desire to shoot Felix, but she couldn't believe that her husband was crying. She was shocked that he had thrown up in the dirt beside him. Beside her.” Carmen gives thanks she didn't take Felix's name and vows to divorce him when they return to California. TERRANCE DUTTON Katie's friend, a big, muscular Black Hollywood actor, Terrance surprises one of the porters by insisting he call him not bwana or Mr. Dutton but Terrance. And to think Terrance survived all the many racial humiliations growing up in Tennessee and death threats as an actor only to be held at gunpoint by whites in Africa. Irony, anyone? Read the chapters with Terrance Dutton with care for the many insights on American race, class and society. KICKER There's more, much more - love and death, Eros and Thanatos in full bloom. And I didn't even mention Katie's publicist Reggie Stout or her agent Peter Merrick or a number of other men playing their part in this African high drama. The Lioness is a thriller you'll surely want to read this summer. Moving, unforgettable. American author Chris Bohjanlian, born 1962

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Every time I read a new Chris Bohjalian book, I love it more than the last. The Lioness published in May. It’s set in 1960s Tanzania when an actress and her new husband honeymoon there, also bringing some of their friends along for the “adventure.” The suspense starts at the very beginning and never lets go. No spoilers, but the synopsis mentions a kidnapping and other attacks. Needless to say, this exciting trip becomes more exciting than the vacationers had in mind. The Lioness is full of plot, Every time I read a new Chris Bohjalian book, I love it more than the last. The Lioness published in May. It’s set in 1960s Tanzania when an actress and her new husband honeymoon there, also bringing some of their friends along for the “adventure.” The suspense starts at the very beginning and never lets go. No spoilers, but the synopsis mentions a kidnapping and other attacks. Needless to say, this exciting trip becomes more exciting than the vacationers had in mind. The Lioness is full of plot, and the characters are well-developed, too, even though it’s a larger cast. There are twists and turns I found unexpected throughout. This book is a graphic, haunting, dark, and chilling adventure. I loved the Old Hollywood glamour and time period because it added so much richness to the storytelling. I just read this one has been optioned for television, and I cannot wait to see it on screen! I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jordan (Jordy’s Book Club)

    QUICK TAKE: Jurassic Park meets Evelyn Hugo when a glamorous Hollywood starlet's safari honeymoon becomes a deadly story of survival. I couldn't put this one down and it's easily my favorite Bohjalian novel. QUICK TAKE: Jurassic Park meets Evelyn Hugo when a glamorous Hollywood starlet's safari honeymoon becomes a deadly story of survival. I couldn't put this one down and it's easily my favorite Bohjalian novel.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Honeymoon Safari goes terribly wrong. Actress Katie Barstow and husband David invite seven close friends and family to an African Safari to celebrate their marriage. This won’t be your average Hollywood photo shot. People die. It is 1964 the world is changing. We are introduced to seven different complex characters along with Katie and David each with a different back story. I found it a little confusing to keep up with so many characters. Within days of this adventure, their guide is shot and ki Honeymoon Safari goes terribly wrong. Actress Katie Barstow and husband David invite seven close friends and family to an African Safari to celebrate their marriage. This won’t be your average Hollywood photo shot. People die. It is 1964 the world is changing. We are introduced to seven different complex characters along with Katie and David each with a different back story. I found it a little confusing to keep up with so many characters. Within days of this adventure, their guide is shot and killed and they are all taken as hostages by Russian soldiers. The group is separated each not knowing what happened to the other. This kidnapping does not end well. This book is beautifully written and researched with the sights and sounds of Tanzania. Wild animals are everywhere. It is a thrilling story of survival with hints of Hollywood glamour, political unrest and violence. Who will survive? Chris Bohjalian does it again with his masterful storytelling. Thank you to Goodreads and the publisher for this wonderful advanced readers copy which I won on Goodreads.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    . . .I have visions of the purple sky that night and when I am most fatigued they come to me, unbidden but not as unwelcome as you might suppose. I know there was all that talk about how we christened ourselves the lions of Hollywood, but I really do see myself in my mind as a lioness on that branch. It is 1964 in the Serengeti. Nine people are on a photograph safari. Hollywood's sweetheart, Katie Barstow, is bankrolling the trip as a part of her honeymoon. Just days into their adventure, there a . . .I have visions of the purple sky that night and when I am most fatigued they come to me, unbidden but not as unwelcome as you might suppose. I know there was all that talk about how we christened ourselves the lions of Hollywood, but I really do see myself in my mind as a lioness on that branch. It is 1964 in the Serengeti. Nine people are on a photograph safari. Hollywood's sweetheart, Katie Barstow, is bankrolling the trip as a part of her honeymoon. Just days into their adventure, there are gun shots and confusion. The group is split between two jeeps. People are dying. How many will live to see another day? The answer might surprise you. A multitude of narrators give you multiple angles on the goings on in Africa as well as some back story. In addition to the question of survival, is the need to discover why this is happening and who is behind it. This is my favorite from Chris Bohjalian so far (it is my third time reading one of his books). The time and place come alive in memorable ways. Thank you to Doubleday and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Is my review gone? Hm? I’ll copy and paste it again … I already expressed my immediate response: FANTASTIC…. so ….now I’ll attempt to write a review….. NOTE…. with Chris Bohjalian books — I tend to avoid other reviews until I’ve read his books myself. And… I learned long ago — not to ask for an early-advance copy — his publisher has never once - ever- granted me an advance copy of any book they published. Fair enough…so I’ve stopped asking. I’ve met Chris three times - at book readings—and not only is Is my review gone? Hm? I’ll copy and paste it again … I already expressed my immediate response: FANTASTIC…. so ….now I’ll attempt to write a review….. NOTE…. with Chris Bohjalian books — I tend to avoid other reviews until I’ve read his books myself. And… I learned long ago — not to ask for an early-advance copy — his publisher has never once - ever- granted me an advance copy of any book they published. Fair enough…so I’ve stopped asking. I’ve met Chris three times - at book readings—and not only is he one of the nicest guys on the planet — no other author is a more gifted speaker: funny, stimulating, personable, equally as he is an accomplished author. I’ve read at least 20 of his 23 books: ….One I didn’t care for - a couple were fair- but most….were thoroughly enjoyable. “The Lioness” goes to the top of my ‘ all-time’ page turning -exciting - Bohjalian-BEST. I felt the excitement from the moment I opened the first page — of dedications. My juices were flowing while getting introduced to the large cast of characters. Something Stephen King pulls off well. Add Chris Bohjalian to that list too. Personally….next to “The Double Bind”….a psychological memorable literary thriller, Chris Bohjalian wrote years ago ….this is my favorite thriller he’s written. I like his straight Historical Fiction….and admire books close to Chris’s heart and family heritage….but in my opinion, it’s his literary thrillers that sparkle and shine with brilliance. Never to experience a ‘cookie-cutter’ thriller from Bohjalian. Chris, Amherst educated, is simply an above-average literary thriller-contender- to hold up against our most talented American authors living authors today. “The Lioness” has everything…literary thriller, historical fiction, political history, contemporary experience, racial issues, adventure, murder, suspense, and Chris’s exceptional intelligent prose…. …..creating picturesque beautification in landscape- narrative - inner musing trimmings from the Hollywood entourage —making for a grand overall combo-encounter between the American’s from their privileged California lifestyles to the reality fears they face in Serengeti, Africa….in the year of 1964. Dedication inspirations: “When I was hanging on by my fingernails, you gave me your hand. You are my safari” “Everything I learned, I learned from the movies”. …..Audrey Hepburn “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, and where are you stop your story”. …..Orion Wells Prologue: “Oh, I can’t speak for the dead. And I won’t speak for the missing. I can only tell you what I think happened. Others—the dead and the missing—would probably have their own versions. Blame, I can tell you firsthand, is every bit as subjective as truth”. A little useful history: (which ‘might’ be valuable to ‘some’ readers before taking on this mega-adventure)… …..The Serengeti ecosystem is a geographical region of Africa, spanning northern Tanzania. It’s also renowned for its large lion population (over 3,000), and is one of the best places to observe prides in their natural environment. The name Serengeti is often said to be derived from the word seringit in the Maasai language. The Serengeti has some of East Africa’s finest game areas. …..Africa was changing and everyone knew it was. Many of the people who went there in 1964 died. In 1964, Nelson Mandela said….”I am prepared to die”. …..March 21, 1960, police officers in a black township in South Africa opened fire on a group of people peacefully protesting oppressive pass laws, killing 69. …..The anniversary of The Shapeville Massacre is remembered the world over every March 21 on International Day for the Elimination of Radical discrimination. Back to our historical-literary-thriller-travel-adventure novel: Be clear….. “The story was never about Western, privileged tourists or local Maasai or Tanzanians. It was never about rich or poor, Americans or Africans. We were all just people, and most of us had no idea what was happening”. “The mantra for most of us? Just stay alive. See if, we might see the sun rise one more time”. Katie Barstow had just gotten married in Los Angeles to David Hill. They were bringing along an entourage of guests, (nine Americans in all, plus the tour guides), with them to Africa on a safari. The year was 1964. Personal share …. …..when I read ‘any’ book (Stephen King is a great example)…that offers up a cast list at the start… I spend extra time studying their names and relationships— It’s only after I have a solid memory and a basic tidbit experience of who the players are — do I start to play ball. Readers can never catch up to who everyone is — unless they ground themselves first with the equipment/characters they are handed. Once the reader prepares themselves — never having to once again ask themselves….”now who was that character again?”….they can move forward - read with confidence and so much more joy….immersed themselves with the captivating storytelling….contemplate the characters individual backgrounds…and dive in deeply. It’s ‘always’ to the readers benefits to get a grasp on who the characters are …..especially with a large cast SO THAT ….reading is effortless…. So….my suggestion to those who have not read this book - but are considering doing so…..STUDY the cast - become very familiar with each name. (Shouldn’t take more than 30-40 minutes)….it will save time and frustration down the line. Instead …the book becomes a joyride. And….Google-your-bones away with Tanzania, 1964 before you begin — if need to brush up on some basic history. I promise it will ultimately increase page turning reading enjoyment. So….I’ve include the cast list….(perhaps it’s helpful for some readers): The Safari The Registered Guest List: MARRIED COUPLES …David Hill: gallerist - married to Katie Barstow …Katie Barstow: A-list actress …Billy Stepanov: psychiatrist and Katie Barstow’s older brother. …Margie Stepanov: homemaker. …Felix Demeter: screenwriter … Carmen Tedesco: a successful supporting actress SINGLE GUESTS: …Terrance Dutton: The only Black actor in the group: and a gifted visual artist. …Reggie Stout: Katie Barstow’s publisher. …Peter Merriam: Katie Barstow’s agent. TEAM LEADERS: …Charlie Patton: owner of Charles Patton Safari Adventures. …Juma Sykes: head African guide. …Muema Kambona: second guide. …Benjamin Kilwete: porter guest liaison. The group, driving in a Land Rover, would be pausing often for the Serengeti’s great menagerie of animals. Zebras, giraffes, lions….they never knew how much they would see. Ha!!! THEY REALLY NEVER KNEW WHAT THEY WOULD SEE UNTIL…..it was too late… Juma, the African tour guide was in his 70s. He seemed like a school teacher with the Americans. “He didn’t merely want them to see the Serengeti: he wanted them to understand it. It was a world that he loved and a world he loved sharing”. Some sample excerpts….( just for tidbit flavoring)… ……just a simple happening: “Benjamin noticed a dung beetle trying to roll a piece of elephant shit it had meticulously shaped into a marble up and out of the rut, but the rut was like a canal to the insect. Twice the beetle had almost pushed the excrement over the side and onto the flat dirt beyond, and each time the weight of the dung had been too much and it rolled back over the creature to the bottom of the track”. “Sometimes a marriage lasts a lifetime. Sometimes it lasts five years. What is that great Oscar Wilde quote? The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death” “God they’d christened themselves the lions of Hollywood at the wedding, and raised champagne to the idea. The seven of them, minus Katie and David, who were already in Paris, had greeted each other that way, half kidding but also a little smug, when they’d rendezvoused at the airport in L.A. a week later. The movie mags even called them that when they wrote about the safari: the lions of Hollywood. Well, he’d taken a life, but he was no lion. He was just. . .” “He couldn’t say. He did not feel remorse, but neither did he feel pride. He was focused only on survival”. “As many as three hundred Americans and Belgians are still held hostage at the Victoria Hotel in Stanleyville. The Simba leaders insist they are being treated well, but no one here has forgotten the cruelties inflicted on the nuns who were taken hostage only last month. Meanwhile, whites continue to flee the Eastern Congo, sometimes passing a gauntlet of Russian and even Cuban soldiers, who are aiding the rebels” —Los Angeles Times, November 20, 1964 “The Lioness” has everything: … political strife, gripping tension suspense, a kidnapping nightmare by the Russian mercenaries, a down-to-earth-relatable cast (we know them enough without being bombarded with too much personal drama) > they were perfect size group to ‘scary-ass-safari’ with! (Kudos to Chris Bohjalian’s skills) The entire ethereal descriptions scanning horrors of squeamish visuals were unrestrained and outlandish….with a satisfying ending. Absolutely—this is one of Chris’s best books … an ambitious intelligent panoramic savvy historical-political-personable-literary thriller that screams, FILM ME!! 🫦👁

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    When I was a kid, my grandmother referred to me as an “old soul” because I lived for the selections offered up on Turner Classic Movies. When I heard The Lioness was about a film starlet and her entourage of sorts going on safari, my brain automatically went to old Hollywood glamour and films the likes of . . . . I was totally prepared to redeem myself for my one and only lackluster experience with Chris Bohjalian (The Flight Attendant) with this one, but sadly . . . . What promised to b When I was a kid, my grandmother referred to me as an “old soul” because I lived for the selections offered up on Turner Classic Movies. When I heard The Lioness was about a film starlet and her entourage of sorts going on safari, my brain automatically went to old Hollywood glamour and films the likes of . . . . I was totally prepared to redeem myself for my one and only lackluster experience with Chris Bohjalian (The Flight Attendant) with this one, but sadly . . . . What promised to be a kidnapping gone wrong story ended up being pretty much a convoluted mess with so many narrators and backstories there was little to no cohesion in the story. And the kidnapping premise? That was hardly even a plotline at all when taking into consideration the total page count. I think it’s safe to say at this point this author simply isn’t for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    4.5 This book is the definition of a plot-driven novel that is both entertaining and bittersweet. And if you’re looking for action, Mr Bohjalian has packed it into every chapter… and I mean that literally!! Set against the backdrop of the beautiful and brutal Serengeti— the multiple characters and timelines are handled as masterfully as two hyenas or a silent leopard hunting their prey. From the first page, the reader knows death will follow but honestly each loss is handled individually, and in m 4.5 This book is the definition of a plot-driven novel that is both entertaining and bittersweet. And if you’re looking for action, Mr Bohjalian has packed it into every chapter… and I mean that literally!! Set against the backdrop of the beautiful and brutal Serengeti— the multiple characters and timelines are handled as masterfully as two hyenas or a silent leopard hunting their prey. From the first page, the reader knows death will follow but honestly each loss is handled individually, and in most cases, reverently. Rather than continuing to skirt the plot spoiler line, I’ll just encourage you to read this book. It was a great read!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4 safari stars - now available! A swank safari for nine Americans, including several Hollywood stars started out as planned. The group headed to Tanzania in 1964 and planned to see all the big animals while celebrating big star Katie Barstow’s marriage to David Hill. Things start to go terribly wrong when Russian soldiers storm their camp and take them hostage. The Serengeti holds unknown terrors from predators – both human and wild animal. The political scene in Africa is full of intrigue and upr 4 safari stars - now available! A swank safari for nine Americans, including several Hollywood stars started out as planned. The group headed to Tanzania in 1964 and planned to see all the big animals while celebrating big star Katie Barstow’s marriage to David Hill. Things start to go terribly wrong when Russian soldiers storm their camp and take them hostage. The Serengeti holds unknown terrors from predators – both human and wild animal. The political scene in Africa is full of intrigue and uprisings. The Americans are separated into a few groups and the terror unfolds a bit differently for each of them. Katie is separated from her best friend Carmen, but her recent co-star Terrance is with her group. Katie is also with her husband David and her brother and his wife. They eventually are driven to isolated huts, but they are not safe at all. The book alternates the terror of Africa with snippets of their lives in Hollywood. As the kidnapping goes wrong on several levels, it becomes unclear if anyone will survive the safari. I have long been a fan of Chris Bohjalian, and this is the eleventh book of his that I’ve read. I’ve grown to love his twists and this one had that trademark twist! Thank you to Doubleday/Penguin Random House for the complimentary copy to read and review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    In 1964, a movie star arranges a safari in Tanzania as part of her honeymoon. She invites a group of relatives, friends and colleagues to come along. There are so many people on this safari, including the guides and porters, that the author had to provide a character list at the beginning of the book. The pov changes in each chapter and the narrative skips around between the past and present. In the present, the safari party is attacked and taken hostage by a group of armed Russians. In the past In 1964, a movie star arranges a safari in Tanzania as part of her honeymoon. She invites a group of relatives, friends and colleagues to come along. There are so many people on this safari, including the guides and porters, that the author had to provide a character list at the beginning of the book. The pov changes in each chapter and the narrative skips around between the past and present. In the present, the safari party is attacked and taken hostage by a group of armed Russians. In the past, we learn the backstory of each of the characters. We do not find out why this group was attacked until the end of the book. “We went there and (most of us, anyway) died there in 1964.” That sentence is in the prologue of this book, so we know from the start that there will be a high body count. There is quite a bit of violence and people are killed by both animals and humans. Many (possibly too many) issues are raised including racism, colonialism, wild animal preservation, child abuse, the Cold War and discrimination in the movie business. I liked the author’s writing style, but it took me a while to connect to the characters because of the constant jumping among characters and time periods. By the time I became attached to a character, they usually ended up dead. Overall, I did enjoy the book. 3.5 stars I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    I'm a beginner Chris Bohjalian reader, but I have continued to enjoy his work that I've read. I've read Red Lotus and enjoyed Hour of the Witch, and loved the HBO show The Flight Attendant, so it was only natural for me to pick up Bohjalian's upcoming The Lioness . Taking place in various timelines, but mainly in Tanzania in 1964; A-list actress Katie Barstow and her new husband David Hill decided to take their friends and Katie's brother on a vacation to Serengeti for their honeymoon. Howeve I'm a beginner Chris Bohjalian reader, but I have continued to enjoy his work that I've read. I've read Red Lotus and enjoyed Hour of the Witch, and loved the HBO show The Flight Attendant, so it was only natural for me to pick up Bohjalian's upcoming The Lioness . Taking place in various timelines, but mainly in Tanzania in 1964; A-list actress Katie Barstow and her new husband David Hill decided to take their friends and Katie's brother on a vacation to Serengeti for their honeymoon. However, their lovely excursion turns sinister after a kidnapping takes place on their adventure. The story wildly blows up the action right from the beginning, but with Bohjalian's storytelling, we are also given backstories to each of the characters. These various timelines begin to evolve and develop until we are all aligned with everyone and everything that happens. I thought this way of telling the story and providing the action was really ingenious. It's not your average thriller, that's for sure! After reading The Lioness , I was shocked to see how different Bohjalian can craft his stories and will now continue along on this journey as a reader of his books.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pooja Peravali

    Katie Barstow is hosting a safari vacation for her closest friends and family on the Serengeti when things go terribly wrong. Kidnapped by violent criminals and broken up into groups, they must struggle to survive the night. The premise of this book is so exciting – old Hollywood glamor meeting the bleakness of Ernest Hemingway. I’ve not read this author before (though I have his Hour of the Witch) on my TBR, but seeing all the great reviews of this one got me pretty excited. Unfortunately I feel Katie Barstow is hosting a safari vacation for her closest friends and family on the Serengeti when things go terribly wrong. Kidnapped by violent criminals and broken up into groups, they must struggle to survive the night. The premise of this book is so exciting – old Hollywood glamor meeting the bleakness of Ernest Hemingway. I’ve not read this author before (though I have his Hour of the Witch) on my TBR, but seeing all the great reviews of this one got me pretty excited. Unfortunately I feel a little let down. I mean, I did enjoy a lot of things in the story – the vivid and complex characters, the depiction of the beautiful but pitiless savannah. I felt as though I was present there with the glare of the sunlight and the buzzing flies. Despite the plethora of characters, no one sounded alike and I was invested in everyone’s fates. However, the story was slow despite it being supposed to be a thriller, and things aren’t helped by the copious flashbacks that pepper the story. The flashbacks may reveal things about the characters and the era they lived in – but for the most part I kept wanting to return to the dangerous present. I also found the revelations about why the group had been kidnapped to be underwhelming, and the end rather rushed up on us. All in all, I have mixed feelings about this book, but I thought it was well-written and will give more books by this author a try. Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angie Kim

    I loved this novel so much that I blew off all my responsibilities, turned off my phone, and got lost in this mesmerizing world created by Chris Bohjalian. A masterful tapestry of heart-pounding suspense and deeply moving drama, The Lioness explores what it takes to survive the siren songs of old Hollywood glitter and the Serengeti’s majestic expanse. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The above is my official blurb, but I have to add that this may be my favorite Bohjalian novel ever. So I loved this novel so much that I blew off all my responsibilities, turned off my phone, and got lost in this mesmerizing world created by Chris Bohjalian. A masterful tapestry of heart-pounding suspense and deeply moving drama, The Lioness explores what it takes to survive the siren songs of old Hollywood glitter and the Serengeti’s majestic expanse. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The above is my official blurb, but I have to add that this may be my favorite Bohjalian novel ever. So cinematic and suspenseful. The hostage situation reminded me of BEL CANTO, one of my favorite novels of all time (except set in the Serengeti instead of a living room in Peru).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Meagan (Meagansbookclub)

    Audiobook What a ride!! This was my first book by Chris Bohjalian and it won’t be the last! One of the reasons why this was a 5 ⭐️ experience was the uniqueness of the story. 1960’s Hollywoodites and their entourage go to Africa. The characters all held my attention with alternating POV. There were flashbacks to help understand their relationships to each other and their personal struggles. The narration was perfectly done! I will say, this was gory! So if that makes you uneasy, maybe skip. They a Audiobook What a ride!! This was my first book by Chris Bohjalian and it won’t be the last! One of the reasons why this was a 5 ⭐️ experience was the uniqueness of the story. 1960’s Hollywoodites and their entourage go to Africa. The characters all held my attention with alternating POV. There were flashbacks to help understand their relationships to each other and their personal struggles. The narration was perfectly done! I will say, this was gory! So if that makes you uneasy, maybe skip. They are in Africa, after all!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Haley

    Does Chris Bohjalian ever write a book that doesn't capture me immediately and send me on an emotional journey? Nope! The Lioness is, truly, another masterpiece. The majestic Serengeti setting quickly turns into a horrifying nightmare, told through each character's eyes, while flashbacks expertly build layer upon layer of the plot, up to its conclusion. You get the Hollywood glamour, as well as the unrest and violence of the times in this thrilling, dramatic read. It's only January, but I know t Does Chris Bohjalian ever write a book that doesn't capture me immediately and send me on an emotional journey? Nope! The Lioness is, truly, another masterpiece. The majestic Serengeti setting quickly turns into a horrifying nightmare, told through each character's eyes, while flashbacks expertly build layer upon layer of the plot, up to its conclusion. You get the Hollywood glamour, as well as the unrest and violence of the times in this thrilling, dramatic read. It's only January, but I know this will be one of my top reads of 2022! Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for access to this arc.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Strawser

    Chris Bohjalian is that rare breed of author who can't be labeled or put in a box: We simply trust that he's here to deliver a damn good story, and we're lucky to be along for the ride. THE LIONESS is an irresistible combination of old-Hollywood glamour and ill-fated adventure. We know from the outset that a movie star's honeymoon safari will not end well for most of the characters involved, yet we follow breathlessly along as a kidnapping in the heart of the Serengeti goes spectacularly awry. A Chris Bohjalian is that rare breed of author who can't be labeled or put in a box: We simply trust that he's here to deliver a damn good story, and we're lucky to be along for the ride. THE LIONESS is an irresistible combination of old-Hollywood glamour and ill-fated adventure. We know from the outset that a movie star's honeymoon safari will not end well for most of the characters involved, yet we follow breathlessly along as a kidnapping in the heart of the Serengeti goes spectacularly awry. A show-stopping, heart-in-your-throat read. (With thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read ahead of publication: What a treat.)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    The author of The Flight Attendant, Hour of the Witch, The Red Lotus, and many more readers favorites is back with a thrilling new historical fiction novel! The Lioness is set in 1964 and centers around a glamazon A list actress Katie Barstow. Katie and her new husband David Hill decide to take their Hollywood pal’s along with them on their honeymoon to the Serengeti. The A-listers are expecting a luxurious glamping trip but what they get is a kidnapping gone wrong. The Lioness is a prime exampl The author of The Flight Attendant, Hour of the Witch, The Red Lotus, and many more readers favorites is back with a thrilling new historical fiction novel! The Lioness is set in 1964 and centers around a glamazon A list actress Katie Barstow. Katie and her new husband David Hill decide to take their Hollywood pal’s along with them on their honeymoon to the Serengeti. The A-listers are expecting a luxurious glamping trip but what they get is a kidnapping gone wrong. The Lioness is a prime example of why Chris Bohjalian is a master storyteller. The beginning is slower paced introducing the reader to the complex characters. The story is told from 10 points of view which is quite a vast cast of characters. Not many authors could pull this off but the characters were so distinct from each other that it worked. I immediately became emotionally invested in several of the characters. The setting felt original to the 1960s and at times the descriptions of the Sarengeti made me feel as if I was in Africa. This isn’t a fast read but that didn’t take away any of the enjoyment I had while reading it. The Lioness is an incredible story that I will not be forgetting anytime soon. It is truly amazing how Bohjalian writes so many distinct works. Like his prior books, The Lioness is truly a unique and original story. As a longtime fan of Bohjalian I will say that he is at the top of his game in The Lioness and I highly recommend it for fans of his prior works as well as historical fiction fans. The Lioness will be available on May 13. A massive thanks to Doubleday Books in exchange for the gifted copy!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Never going on an African safari... Historical thriller, quite predictable, and very violent with a large cast of characters. Hollywood actress Katie Barstow, and her new husband, David Hill, decide to take some family and close friends to the Serengeti at the end of their honeymoon. What is meant to be an adventurous camp-out that involves watching animals and taking photographs turns deadly when the entourage is kidnapped by Russians. I've read all of this author's books and, upon analysis, I se Never going on an African safari... Historical thriller, quite predictable, and very violent with a large cast of characters. Hollywood actress Katie Barstow, and her new husband, David Hill, decide to take some family and close friends to the Serengeti at the end of their honeymoon. What is meant to be an adventurous camp-out that involves watching animals and taking photographs turns deadly when the entourage is kidnapped by Russians. I've read all of this author's books and, upon analysis, I see they have been hit and miss with me. I found this to be terribly bloody, lots of senseless killing, and a plot that really did not grip me with an ending, meant to be a twist, that was totally foreseen early in the story. Told in multiple voices, the narrators give their take on what is happening during their ordeal, and reveal a bit about themselves and their lives interspersed with blurbs from supposed tabloid reports from Hollywood. All of the jumping around made the novel less suspenseful as mostly I just wanted a fluid tale without all the background that foreshadowed how this would all end. I never felt that I identified with the many characters and thus did not regret any one death more than another though it all just seemed so pointless and sad. As usual, the author includes political and social commentary relevant to the place (Africa) and the time period (1960s) and, given the current global tendency to despise the mercenary Russians, they don't get any love either. I think my overwhelming response to this work is that I was disappointed. Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday for this e-book ARC to read and review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dallas Strawn

    Chris Bohjalian very openly admits that it is his goal to never write the same book twice; he is the least formulaic writer that I know! Every single book of his is so different; and THE LIONESS is no exception. I've never read a book primarily set in an safari before; I thought it was pretty fascinating. The Lioness centers on a group of Hollywood actors and their publicity team celebrating a destination honeymoon in Africa that turns deadly pretty quickly after a kidnapping plan begins to take Chris Bohjalian very openly admits that it is his goal to never write the same book twice; he is the least formulaic writer that I know! Every single book of his is so different; and THE LIONESS is no exception. I've never read a book primarily set in an safari before; I thought it was pretty fascinating. The Lioness centers on a group of Hollywood actors and their publicity team celebrating a destination honeymoon in Africa that turns deadly pretty quickly after a kidnapping plan begins to take place. Bohjalian very slowly and carefully introduces the reader to a full cast of characters, with 10 point of view characters, and we are able to see the journey of the safari from everyone's vantage point. I found the story absolutely incredible, a complex piece of suspenseful historical fiction. I don't think it needed 10 POVs, it was slightly confusing to the reader at first to get everyone straight in your head..... but the final act was quite wild, and overall, I loved the book! 4.5 ⭐️

  25. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE LIONESS by Chris Bohjalian in exchange for my honest review.*** In 1964 Academy Award winning actress Katie Barstow and her new husband take seven friends and family on their extended honeymoon, a African safari where they will encounter man and beast in epic battles. The mighty will fall. Trust will be tested. Heroes will emerge. Not everyone will survive. Although I’m not a literary fiction reader, I’ve been a Chris Bohjalian fa ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE LIONESS by Chris Bohjalian in exchange for my honest review.*** In 1964 Academy Award winning actress Katie Barstow and her new husband take seven friends and family on their extended honeymoon, a African safari where they will encounter man and beast in epic battles. The mighty will fall. Trust will be tested. Heroes will emerge. Not everyone will survive. Although I’m not a literary fiction reader, I’ve been a Chris Bohjalian fan since his early work so I was excited to receive an ARC of THE LIONESS. An Audrey Hepburn quote to start this exceptional novel made me smile as I quickly became immersed in the story. Bohjalian’s meticulous attention to research detail reminds me of another favorite, Jodi Picoult another favorite of mine. Told from the points of view of the safari adventurers and blurbs from Hollywood magazine articles the stories of the travelers’ pasts and presents unfold. On a personal note, I don’t believe in animals used for human entertainment and I don’t approve of anything they disturbs the natural habitats of animals in the wild. Reading THE LIONESS at times I worried more about the animals than people, not because I didn’t root for the characters, but because they chose their adventure and the animals were just trying to live their lives. Five huge stars for THE LIONESS, which will keep you thinking well after you’ve finished reading.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Mercy!!! 1960’s old Hollywood merged with an African adventure.. that sounds fun right? Just you wait and see. Chris Bohjalian brings you a suspensive, edge of your seat, day by day, full account of life and death on the Serengeti. These guests are in for the most thrilling ride of their lives. Taken down by man or animal, they each face insurmountable odds at surviving after Russian mercenaries kidnap the glamorous Hollywood starlet Katie Barstow, her new husband and guests while on safari. Int Mercy!!! 1960’s old Hollywood merged with an African adventure.. that sounds fun right? Just you wait and see. Chris Bohjalian brings you a suspensive, edge of your seat, day by day, full account of life and death on the Serengeti. These guests are in for the most thrilling ride of their lives. Taken down by man or animal, they each face insurmountable odds at surviving after Russian mercenaries kidnap the glamorous Hollywood starlet Katie Barstow, her new husband and guests while on safari. Intense shock, gripping fear of the unexpected, and survival of the fittest.. or the smartest. Which guests will share a ghastly demise, who will survive?!? An intense, wild ride that’s not for the faint at heart. I loved it!! If you’ve never read any books from Chris Bojahlian this is the place to start. Wow.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Couple notes for authors: 1. If you want me to believe that someone is a glamorous Hollywood superstar who had to change her name to be more approachable, her new last name shouldn't be taken from the Meth capital of Southern California. 2. When you name the chapters after characters it makes it easy to figure out who lives. General Review: This book was ok. It had a very slow beginning. The transitions between timeliness was clunky but perhaps that was just in the audiobook. Some of the death sce Couple notes for authors: 1. If you want me to believe that someone is a glamorous Hollywood superstar who had to change her name to be more approachable, her new last name shouldn't be taken from the Meth capital of Southern California. 2. When you name the chapters after characters it makes it easy to figure out who lives. General Review: This book was ok. It had a very slow beginning. The transitions between timeliness was clunky but perhaps that was just in the audiobook. Some of the death scenes seemed to stretch what was realistically possible and it seemed odd that such a high profile party would travel without any personal security.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marci Colyer

    Great book! Review to come

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anna Avian

    Well that was disappointing. There were too many characters and too many storylines to keep track of. By the end, I didn't really care about any of them. A lot of times when something interesting was just about to happen the chapter ended and we moved onto someone else's story. A political aspect was also thrown in the mix of the numerous themes that were explored. Well that was disappointing. There were too many characters and too many storylines to keep track of. By the end, I didn't really care about any of them. A lot of times when something interesting was just about to happen the chapter ended and we moved onto someone else's story. A political aspect was also thrown in the mix of the numerous themes that were explored.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This was one of the most gripping novels I have EVER read. I had to stop myself from going to the last page, the suspense was overwhelming. I am certain that this will be not only a best seller, but also on all the BEST OF 2022 lists. When a group of Hollywood elites goes on a safari, many years before they became fashionable, they encounter a journey of unexpected terror. In the beauty and excitement of this trip to Africa, they become the prey. The writing is so exciting that I felt that I was This was one of the most gripping novels I have EVER read. I had to stop myself from going to the last page, the suspense was overwhelming. I am certain that this will be not only a best seller, but also on all the BEST OF 2022 lists. When a group of Hollywood elites goes on a safari, many years before they became fashionable, they encounter a journey of unexpected terror. In the beauty and excitement of this trip to Africa, they become the prey. The writing is so exciting that I felt that I was with them, heart poundingly with them! The characters are well-drawn and their backstories unwind and give the reader a strong sense of the participants and their connections. The author sprinkles clues, but the reader will be astounded by the climax of the novel. Without a doubt, Bohjalian has written a novel of great power that will engage and appeal to many readers. His use of symbolism and his descriptions have created a remarkable novel which I highly recommend. Thank you Netgalley for this opportunity to read and review this ARC.

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