“Terrific . . . An elegant noose of a plot.” — The New York Times


The Red Lotus (2020)

The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in his arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road. As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, navigating the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in? Set amidst the adrenaline-fueled world of the emergency room, The Red Lotus is a global thriller about those who dedicate their lives to saving people, and those who peddle death to the highest bidder.


“Terrific. . .[an] elegant noose of a plot. . .Bohjalian is a pleasure to read. He writes muscular, clear, propulsive sentences. . .As suspenseful as it is, The Red Lotus is also unexpectedly moving — about friendship, about the connections between people and, most of all, about the love of parents for children and of children for parents. Bohjalian is a writer with a big heart and deep compassion for his characters.”

Sarah Lyall
The New York Times

“Readers who crave suspense will get it…(W)ith a pandemic plot, The Red Lotus is both prescient and diverting. Bohjalian specializes in well-researched, topical thrillers with complex plots and flawed but principled heroes.”

The Washington Post

“A tense and timely thriller.”

People Magazine

“[Bohjalian] possesses one of the best-tuned antennas in contemporary fiction for absorbing troubles, forces, terrors, fortunes, and, yes, plagues that turn the world. . .Bohjalian’s plots race at the speed of a 747, but there’s no skimming in the complexity or depth of his subject matter [or] precision of his research.”

Christopher Bollen

“As always, Bohjalian creates a mesmerizing tale, a timely socio-political-business story with human frailties, illusions, disillusions, and strengths firmly at its center.”

Daneet Steffens
Seattle Review of Books

“Ominous. . .an edge-of-the-seat thriller. . .oh-so-timely.”

Amanda St. Amand
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“This gripping mystery takes all kinds of thrilling twists and turns. A great read..”

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“With his usual strong plotting and well-conceived characters, Bohjalian’s story unfolds slowly and with terrific pacing.”

Alan Rosenberg
The Providence Journal

“The Red Lotus has Bohjalian’s characteristic suspense and turn-the-page pacing…It’s a cautionary bio-horror tale a la The Andromeda Strain and The Hot Zone.”

Book Reporter

An “intricately plotted thriller. . .a diabolical plot reminiscent of a Robin Cook thriller. Each character, including secondary players, is carefully drawn, and Bohjalian keeps the tension high all the way to the surprising finale.”

Publishers Weekly

“Deductive reasoning can take you only so far in a thriller as full of surprises as this one. Those who relished the sudden shocks and well-timed twists of Mr. Bohjalian’s 2018 work, The Flight Attendant, should be well-pleased by his latest book, whose unexpected revelations extend to the final sentence.”

Tom Nolan
The Wall Street Journal

“Everything Bohjalian writes is addictive.”

Mackenzie Dawson
The New York Post

“Bohjalian knows how to unveil the perfect mystery. . .Lush descriptions of the landscape offer a striking contrast with the desperate search for a man who goes missing during a bike tour.”

Fiona Davis
Travel & Leisure

“Sure to send a very real chill down your spine. . .a slow burn of a novel that will keep you turning the pages.”

Ray Palen
Criminal Element

“The Red Lotus is a must-read global thriller…Hits Bohjalian’s trademark notes of intricate plot, in-depth research, high tension, and unexpected turns – with a very timely dose of pathogens and biological weapons – in a twisting story of love and deceit."

Mystery Tribune

“A tightly written, tense, page-turning story. . .Bohjalian knows how to tell a tale — vivid characters, exotic settings, surprise plot twists, and a heart-pounding finale followed by an epilogue that ties it all together.”

Michael F. Epstein
The Bennington Banner

“You’ll keep flipping pages, discover new complex characters, see the mysterious situation from different points of view — and you’ll be surprised at each well-plotted turn.”

Katie Yee
Literary Hub

You “will shiver just a little bit at Bohjalian’s prescience. . .gripping.”

Sharyn Vane
Book and Film Globe

“In this tightly drawn, steadily hair-raising thriller, Bohjalian once again demonstrates his keen affinity for strong, capable female protagonists, while his masterful merging of setting and plot delivers a cerebral and dramatic dive into what happens when love turns to agony.”

Carol Haggas

"The Red Lotus will “create a nice little knot of fear in your stomach. Add to that the effective use of alternating points of view, some pretty scary speculations about biological warfare, and a compelling view of a country that has risen from the ashes like a phoenix. The red lotus is Vietnam’s version of that, a flower that sinks under water overnight and rises at dawn.”

Wendy Migal
Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

A “picture of pharmaceutical espionage, worldwide pandemics, and the breathtaking adaptability of the rat. Alternating action between Vietnam and New York, along with the dynamic pace, will please suspense fans.”

Amy Nolan
Library Journal

“Prepare to carry a sense of dread with you…This heart-pounding thriller is sensationally written.”

Zibby Owens
Whats Up Moms

An “intricately plotted, breathless thriller. Ultimately supremely satisfying, this novel takes you on a very twisty — and twisted — path.”

Jenny Lyons
Addison Independent

“Entertaining and eye-opening.”

David Templeton
Argus Courier

“In Bohjalian’s breathless thriller, the death of an American bicyclist in Vietnam sets off a race to avert further catastrophe. . . Bohjalian manages to keep us guessing and turning pages until the very end.”

Kirkus Reviews