The Heaven’s Rise by Christopher Rice
The Delongpre family disappeared a decade ago and pieces of their car were found in the dark and murky bayou. What happened to the loving couple and their teenage daughter? Nikki Delongpre left behind her best friend since childhood, Ben, and her high school sweetheart, Anthem, and neither man can get over her loss. But is she dead? Or simply missing?
Ben and Anthem continue on without Nikki but her absence is more of a presence. Ben is working as an investigative reporter, determined to help his beloved New Orleans any way he can, especially after helping rescue people from the Ninth Ward after Katrina and experiencing the aftermath of the disaster firsthand. Anthem takes up drinking but follows in his family’s tradition of becoming river boat pilots – except he takes huge containerships up and down the Mississippi. But there is an evil in the bayou which has touched Nikki and a former classmate. And now that evil is returning to New Orleans to hunt down Ben and Anthem.
I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the book. The “evil” was different and well described but left a lot open for questions. Things got a little too weird for my tastes the last third of the book. The evil mutated and it just didn’t feel right to me. I’m sure there are those who will love the direction the book took, but I wanted something more (or in this case a little less). If you want horror set in New Orleans though, you really can’t miss with this offering. The author follows in his mom’s footsteps with his sense of place. (Christopher Rice is the son of Anne Rice of Interview with a Vampire fame.)