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September 22, 2014

Review: The Heaven's Rise by Christopher Rice

The Heaven's Rise
by Christopher Rice

Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Hardcover/e-book, 336 pages
Published: October 15th 2013 by Gallery Books

Rating: 5 of 5 stars - Recommended Read!


New 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.


Having never read Christopher Rice's work before, I went into this with my eyes wide open - and it wasn't long before I wished I had left them closed. Tightly closed.

As I worked my way through the story, I could feel my anxiety and trepidation building as my adrenaline and pulse spiked and my palms started to sweat. Realistically, I knew I was displaying the physical symptoms of distress, but it confused the hell out of me. After all, I was only REA-DING. I'd never had such a visceral reaction to reading a story before. Sure, my pulse had spiked and "things" had hummed and thrummed during hot romance scenes, but this...this was different.

In addition to the physical mess my body was fast becoming, I found my mind at odds as well. One of the characters I truly felt sympathy for and liked, another I genuinely wanted to Mother - and yet another I wanted to wrap my hands around his spindly throat, throttling him myself. My emotions, along with my body, were a complete mess.

Continuing through the story, it became creepier and more malevolent as I read on. Talk about chilling! I won't give specifics, because that would give away the key factor in the story, killing it for everyone. But, I will say this - you will never, and I mean never, expect what Christopher brings to the forefront in this novel! It's as unique as it is unexpected and creepy-chilling.

I found myself racing through The Heaven's Rise - I couldn't put it down until I had fully absorbed each slimy, crawly, little devious word.

Afterwards, I found myself desperately wanting to take a bath; I felt so...dirty...and cold. Oh God, *shivers* I was so cooold. But, as luck would have it, I was too damn afraid to get in the water at that precise moment, thanks to the images still circulating in my mind.

Instead, I found myself sitting back in my reading chair, with my arms drawn up, tightly encasing my up-drawn knees with my blankie wrapped tightly around my shoulders desperately trying to warm the deep chill I had sunk into, quietly shaking back and forth trying to sooth myself.

And that is exactly how my husband found me - something I know I will never live down. Thanks Christopher Rice for briefly turning MY mind to gelatin, thus allowing my husband to capitalize on my temporary weakness.

My husbands first words? Were they words of comfort? Maybe an arm draped around me to offer comfort? Na-ope! His exact words were, "Guess you finished reading that Novel, hu? My turn!" he yelled, as he snagged it off the edge of my chair, turned and ran down the hallway.

Seriously? I'm almost catatonic with fear, my mind in a continual terror-loop, rewinding and replaying the days after I watched Jaws for the first time and was so afraid of any water, even my parents couldn't get me to sit on the toilet, and he...jokes, running down the hall with his prize? If I'd had my full wits about me, I would have charged him for the privilege of reading the damn thing before he snagged it, wiping the smile off of his smug face. ! I have one word to describe the feeling - BETRAYED.

The only thing that made me feel better? The next day I could tell he had finished The Heaven's Rise; the vacant look of terror now occupied his eyes...along with his hands rubbing over his body as I laughed. *snickers* =)

In ending, Christopher's characters had depth, carried their individuality through the story and were well-developed; when you love, hate and somewhere in-between, you know that the author has made a perfect hit.

The premise of the story is new, unexpected and incredibly original; a thrilling suspense-horror surprise in a market too often overwhelmed by the "alike."

The scene-building is astounding! As I read, it felt as if I was walking through the story, able to visualize every detail and clearly see the grit and grander that makes up the amazement of the Louisiana Bayou. New Orleans is the one place in all the world I long to visit and I was thrilled (when not shivering or heaving) to get the opportunity to see the environment through this authors eyes.

I RARELY give 5 stars - but this novel deserved it.

Highly recommend, but remember, you have been warned...

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