Fiction from Rice and Riggle, with a Debut from Rydahl | Xpress Reviews

“Vampire Chronicles” fandom will be clamoring for a peek at Rice’s latest tale, though it's confusing at times; Riggle presents an entrancing novel of the Broadway theatrical world in its heyday; Rydahl's debut unfolds one unexpected clue at a time and will keep readers guessing until the very end

Week ending October 28, 2016


Rice, Anne. Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis. Knopf. (Vampire Chronicles, Bk. 12). Nov. 2016. 480p. ISBN 9781524732530. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353809. F

The 12th entry (after Prince Lestat) in Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles” series jumps back into the world of vampires, spirits, and mythology that she created 40 years ago in Interview with a Vampire. Lestat de Lioncourt is now serving as Prince of the Undead tribe and incorporates the ancient and feisty spirit of Amel into his body. Plagued with visions of the lost mystical city of Atlantis, the tribe is also rocked by reports of nonhuman, nonvampiric beings that transcend any life forms they have ever seen. The two supernatural communities soon collide, and Prince Lestat must work to decipher a complicated and connected past between Amel and these otherworldly beings before it’s too late.

Verdict It might be time for this series to end, judging from this novel, which is very confusing at times, with bizarre subplots that don’t add much to the story line. However, “Vampire Chronicles” fandom will be clamoring for a peek at Rice’s latest tale.—Chelsie Harris, San Diego Cty. Lib.


Riggle, Kristina. Vivian in Red. Polis. Sept. 2016. 352p. ISBN 9781943818167. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781943818389. F

vivianinred102816Milo Short is the head of a successful Broadway production company. At 88, he has seen great success and raised his family from poverty to wealth. Then he heads for his office one morning and sees a woman from his past, looking as beautiful as she did 60 years ago. When she winks at him, he suffers a stroke, losing his power of speech and the use of his left hand. At the same time, Milo’s granddaughter Eleanor has been ordered by the family to write his biography in the hope that the book and a new production of his most famous musical will restore the company to its former affluence and fame. As Eleanor digs into Milo’s past, she discovers a woman named Vivian Adair, who played a significant role in Milo’s first Broadway hit, and she realizes that Milo keeps seeing some kind of vision that prevents him from regaining his speech.

Verdict Riggle (The Life You’ve Imagined) has written an entrancing novel that gives readers insight into the Broadway theatrical world in its heyday. It also presents a nuanced picture of a large, unwieldy, but loving family and examines the mistakes people make in their youth that eventually come back to haunt them.—Andrea Kempf, formerly with Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS


Rydahl, Thomas. The Hermit. Oneworld. Nov. 2016. 480p. tr. from Danish by K.E. Semmel. ISBN 9781780748894. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9781780748900. F

[DEBUT] Erhard Jorgenson is a Danish expatriate working as a taxi driver and part-time piano tuner in the Canary Islands. His simple, solitary lifestyle has earned him the nickname of the Hermit, attracting both admiration and scorn from local residents. When a car is found crashed on a local beach, with the body of a small boy in the trunk, the police are under pressure to wrap up the case quickly and quietly so as not to upset the tourists. With no leads, they try to sweep it under the rug, but Erhard finds he cannot let the case go. Erhard is not the usual detective. Nearing 70, the Hermit has a checkered past and no knowledge of modern technology, and his questioning of witnesses is far from discreet. As he gets more involved, and becomes more unhinged, he is caught up in a sordid world of prostitution, organized crime, uncaring fathers, and rebellious sons.

Verdict Danish short story author and translator Rydahl’s debut novel, which won the Glass Key Award for the Best Nordic Crime Fiction 2015, does not progress at breakneck speed but moves along at Erhard’s methodical and deliberate pace. Unfolding one unexpected clue at a time, it will keep readers guessing until the very end.—Portia Kapraun, Delphi P.L., IN

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