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Publisher's Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • 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. "The best possible combination of Hemingway and Agatha Christie—a gorgeously written story about the landscape and risks of Africa, whose edge-of-your-seat plot makes it impossible to put down.”—Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here

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 zebras 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 their hostages 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 Lioness is a vibrant masterpiece from one of our finest storytellers.

©2022 Chris Bohjalian (P)2022 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Lioness

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

AMAZING!

For anyone on the fence about purchasing this title, I urge you to take the plunge & add it to your library. This story is so gripping & intense; it feels like you’re right there with the characters, experiencing the wonders of an African safari—and then the elemental, stark mortal vulnerability of being at the mercy of predators, both human & animal.
The story has a slightly unusual structure & I did have to replay a few bits at the very beginning in order to get oriented, but I was also fatigued & a bit distracted, so it’s likely that was due to me, the reader, rather than the format of the story.
If you are particularly squeamish, be warned that there are some gruesome deaths; however, the writing is so elegant even these seem beautiful (for lack of a better word).
The narrator(s) are fantastic. Pleasurable listening, excellent vocal technique.
Amazingly well-done all around.

11 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Badly performed

Not sure if I can finish this; the story is interesting if thoroughly cliched; don’t authors do any significant research about the different Hollywood movie eras, or do they just assume all were alike? I don’t yet believe any of these characters are real people, and the performance of the main narrator is just mediocre verging on lousy. Good narrators build characters using their voice and the most effective ones do that so well I know which character is speaking without being told. All the females and males sound exactly the same in this reading, and Ms.LaVoy feels the need to insert melodramatic ‘feeling’ into every adjective or adverb. Shouldn’t a violent kidnapping that’s well written do that without her emphasizing every single atmospheric word?? The opening narrator, in the prologue, should have read the entire thing. Much better reader.

6 people found this helpful

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Blood, and gore, and animals, oh my

Bohjalian is by far my favorite author, but this was edging on too bloody and graphic even for me. I have read his other violent books (The Flight Attendant, The Guest Room) and thought they were gory, but this might be over the top. While an interesting story it veered into no man’s land for me.

6 people found this helpful

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Safari with a different twist

This book reminds me of my own safari experience. No kidnapping or movie stars. But, the adventure was unforgettable.
The story is well told and quite believable.
I recommend this book to those that seek the thrill of an African safari and the excitement of a good crime novel.

2 people found this helpful

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wonderful!!!

loved this book! Made my road trip fun! could not stop listening! Great storytelling.

2 people found this helpful

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Great narration. Great story.

I read and listened to this book on a combination of Kindle and Audible after seeing a 5 star review from my friend and avid reader, Russ Bertetta. Have not read any other books by this author.
I'm kind of stingy with my 5 star reviews but for me a 4 star rating is a good review!
Audible narration by January LaVoy and others was very good.
Husband and I read this at the same time and agreed that it was a well researched story in the areas of both 1960's Hollywood, and the realities/dangers of an African safari.
Throughout the book, there were backstories of all main characters helping you get to know what kind of people they were, leaving you to "judge them a bit" for lack of a better phrase. The same backstories help the reader to relate to the fears of the characters as they faced uncertainties at the hands of their kidnappers and the possibility of animal attack. (Not a spoiler if you read the book synopsis.)
While I am pretty sure that a safari is not in my travel plans after reading this book, I am sure that I will read another of Chris Bohjalian's books!

Also posted on Goodreads.com

1 person found this helpful

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More Than One Lioness

Exciting, fast paced, and a page turner. A quick read with lots of action. I never predicted who instigated the tragic events that happened on this African safari.

1 person found this helpful

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Too many characters.

Too many characters to keep track of. Some are not that interesting. Back and forth from past to present. I love Chris Bohjalian books. Not this one.

1 person found this helpful

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Thoroughly Average

Big fan of author but this one disappointed. Average complexity, average tale, although Africas setting interesting

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Not good

Worst book I’ve read/listened to this year, and in a very long time.

Initially intriguing and has just enough to drag you half way through the book only to beg for it to end. Plot falls apart and dissolves into many subplots… I guess. No protagonist or antagonist. Character development is shallow and often seems inconsistent, unnecessarily tangential, or just filler. Overly dramatic at times and there where will be enough hopping back and forth in time to make a person dizzy.

Reminds me of a B-horror movie where most characters will be steadily eliminated with increasingly ridiculous deaths. Cliche at times and plenty of contempt for humanity. Absent of redemption or anything uplifting. A terrible story that gathers a group of people and goes nowhere - exactly like Friday the 13th (1 through 12), Alien: Covenant, or so many other third rate horror flicks.

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