Richard and Judy Introduce The Snakes by Sadie Jones

Richard and Judy Introduce The Snakes by Sadie Jones

Judy’s Review

This is an extraordinary book, beautifully written, modern but with overtones of gothic horror, wrapped around themes of race, class, wealth, cruelty and corruption.

Oh, and it’s a very tense thriller, too.

Yes, The Snakes is a big novel, and yet it reads as easily as a domestic drama. Bea and Dan are recently married and living in typical London professional penury in a one-bed flat. Bea is perfectly content with her low-paid psychotherapist job, while Dan, a frustrated artist, loathes being on a pittance as an estate agent.

To appeaser him, Bea agrees to a break from work – a low-budget three-month tour of Europe to give them breathing-space. Fatefully, their first stop is at Bea’s brother Alex’s hotel in France. Alex, a reformed drug addict, has been given the hotel by his wealthy father as a project to keep him out of trouble, but when Bea and Dan arrive they find it empty, dilapidated, dirty and creepy.

Richard’s Review

This nightmarish hotel’s attic is infested with snakes; and these are clearly a metaphor for Bea and Alex’s repellent parents, who soon join them in France to visit. The father is a fabulously wealthy property developer, the mother a neurotic, horribly narcissistic woman obsessed with son Alex. Their relationship, without giving too much away, is deeply odd.

There soon unfolds a terrible tragedy engulfing the whole family. The Snakes is a tense, fast-paced thriller and an examination of how great wealth corrupts. Dan begins to covet the riches his wife has always rejected. Her parents are cruel and depraved beyond belief – and the final pages are crammed with menace and terror.

This is another fabulous read from Sadie Jones; a compulsive snake-pit of abuse, corruption and fear.

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