The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice

17571317New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice brilliantly conjures the shadowed terrors of the Louisiana bayou—where three friends confront a deadly, ancient evil rising to the surface—in this intense and atmospheric new supernatural thriller.

It’s been a decade since the Delongpre family vanished near Bayou Rabineaux, and still no one can explain the events of that dark and sweltering night. No one except Niquette Delongpre, the survivor who ran away from the mangled stretch of guardrail on Highway 22 where the impossible occurred…and kept on running. Who left behind her best friends, Ben and Anthem, to save them from her newfound capacity for destruction…and who alone knows the source of her very bizarre—and very deadly—abilities: an isolated strip of swampland called Elysium.

An accomplished surgeon, Niquette’s father dreamed of transforming the dense acreage surrounded by murky waters into a palatial compound befitting the name his beloved wife gave to it, Elysium: “the final resting place for the heroic and virtuous.” Then, ten years ago, construction workers dug into a long-hidden well, one that snaked down into the deep, black waters of the Louisiana swamp and stirred something that had been there for centuries—a microscopic parasite that perverts the mind and corrupts the body.

Niquette is living proof that things done can’t be undone. Nothing will put her family back together again. And nothing can save her. But as Niquette, Ben, and Anthem uncover the truth of a devastating parasite that has the potential to alter the future of humankind, Niquette grasps the most chilling truths of all: someone else has been infected too. And unlike her, this man is not content to live in the shadows. He is intent to use his newfound powers for one reason only: revenge. – Goodreads.com

New Orleans was the perfect setting for a creepy horror novel like this – ancient evil, supernatural thriller – and the author’s descriptions pre and post-Katrina were both wonderful and sad at the same time.

I found it easy to like all three of the MCs, Nikki, Ben, and Anthem, with their vastly different personalities and strong bonds of friendship.  Their relationships were very believable and heartwarming.  Although Ben seemed to be just a third wheel initially, I liked him even more when he became a central character halfway through the book.  At the other end of the spectrum, it was amazing the way the author created someone so vile and despicable as Marshall in so few words and actions.

This story quickly drew me in and although it jumped around with time periods and Nikki’s journal entries, it wasn’t confusing and added to the suspense for me.  The whole story began with someone wanting what they couldn’t have and continued to gain momentum.  By the end, I was left fascinated by how a minor thing in life could affect so many people and have such devastating consequences.  The ending wasn’t what I was hoping for, but considering everything that happened, it was probably the best outcome possible.

When I began reading this book, I wasn’t aware Christopher Rice was the son of Anne Rice.  I’ve been a fan of hers for years and, in this case, the imagination and talent didn’t fall far from the tree.  This was the first book I’ve read by this author, but I’ll be looking for others.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

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