The Heavens Rise - Christopher Rice Christopher Rice has written a creepy novel of the supernatural but it's more than that. The author has devised a post-Katrina love song for New Orleans. His novel teems with Southern atmosphere and the characters are steeped in the New Orleans tradition. I may be off here, but this story about four teenagers who are changed by a mysterious and tragic event reads like an allegory to New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina. We have four main characters who are destroyed by a strange occurrence and struggle to regain normalcy, maybe never regaining it. I'm purposely being vague about the event. Technically there are three of them but they are connected, Suffice to say, I might not go swimming when I'm in Louisiana. The main success in this novel is how well Rice develops his four characters; Nickie, Anthem, Ben, and Marshall. Even Marshall, who has to be one of the weirdest and most repulsive characters I've come across in a novel, is beautifully managed in this story that spans eight years. The author has a lyrical form of writing but it doesn't detract from the more terrifying aspects. My only complain is the switching of time in the first half of the book. It is a little disorientating and took away from the otherwise excellent buildup. But once you get into the story it takes hold of you. This is the first book by Christopher Rice that I've read but I've been told it is quite different than his usual. It is also his first horror novel. What I can say from this reading is that the author has a style that combines the richly descriptive and psychological style of his mother Anne Rice and the on-your-edge storytelling of Stephen King. I will be checking out his other books but, frankly, I hope he writes another horror novel.

Four and a half stars.