Martin's Must Reads: 'The Lioness'
“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. Of course, I am also confident that the missing will never be found: the Serengeti is vast and it’s been years.”
I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are the opening lines to the Prologue of Chris Bohjalian’s newest novel The Lioness. The story takes place in 1964 in Kenya.
A famous actress, Katie Barstow, and her new husband have booked a Serengeti safari for themselves and seven of their friends and relatives. Several days into the trip they are kidnapped by Russian mercenaries, separated into several vehicles and driven off to separate locations.
As the story progresses each chapter focuses on one of the travelers, some of it back story about the character and some of what is happening to them at that moment in the kidnapping. Katie’s husband David whose father works for the CIA, is losing money on his art gallery. Katie’s older brother Billy is a psychologist who was mentally abused by his mother. Margie is his pregnant wife. Carmen, a lesser known actress, is married to Felix a screenwriter with only one real hit. Terrance is an actor friend of Katie’s. Reggie is Katie’s publicist and a war veteran. Peter is Katie’s agent. And then there’s Charlie Patton owner of the Safari Adventures and his three guides.
As Bohjalian introduces aspects of their personalities the kidnapping goes wrong and things spiral out of control. If you’re looking for a page turner...then you must read The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian.