AUTHOR: S.J. BOLTON
This is one heart stopping thriller. And if you're at all squeamish about snakes I'd advice you to stay away from this book. However, if you like your thrillers of the page-turning variety, with lots of twists and turns, a decades old secret and tension rising off the page, this is probably the book for you. And if you appreciate beautiful descriptions and use of language as well, you have just about hit the jackpot with this novel.
The story is set in the Lyme Reggis region of England, where Clara Benning is a vet running a wildlife hospital. Clara has been disfigured since early childhood and lives a life as solitary as she can make it when a neighbour calls her because she's found a snake in the crib with her baby.
Clara manages to get the very poisonous snake safely away from the baby, but soon learns that this has not been the first incident involving snakes and poison in the region in the recent past. Nor will it be the last.
Together with a rather eccentric snake expert and a police officer Clara tries to get to the bottom of where the snakes are coming from, who is using them as a deadly weapon and why. An investigation that will take them back to horrific events that took place 50 years earlier, events that someone is desperate to keep secret. An investigation that may well end up killing our investigators. But also an investigation that will force Clara to at last come to terms with her past and how she looks, and face the world head on.
The fact that I read this book from beginning to end in one day is proof of how good a thriller this is. The only reason the book didn't score a 5 is that I don't like it when my main character becomes the chief suspect in the investigation in which they are involved. And that is a purely personal dislike and has nothing to do with the quality of the book.