S.J. Bolton’s novel Awakening creeped me out. There are a lot of snakes in this book, venomous and not, and this novel should not be read by anyone who is terrified of snakes. With that said, I’ve never been particularly bothered by snakes and yet while reading this novel I saw snakes everywhere!! In the rain drops that moved the grass on the side of the road. In the roots that gnarled their way across my hiking trail. And I live in an area that doesn’t have many snakes, and yet I was freaked out.

So, with that disclaimer, this book was fantastic! Our heroine, Clara, was disfigured as a child and now tries to limit her experience with fellow humans and focuses her energy on her wild animals that she treats at the veterinary clinic. Unfortunately, her quiet village is being terrorized by venomous snakes and her neighbors seek her out for her reptile knowledge. When a non-indigenous, very deadly snake turns up in a neighbor’s home, Clara works with Matt, the local detective, and Sean North, a TV star who works with wild animals, to try to determine how these wild snakes are getting into homes and killing people.

Bolton include many elements into this mystery. Clara is also psychological mess allowing her disfigurement rule her life. Clara in her quest to understand how the victims are tied together, also uncovers a religious cult that many neighbors were part of over 50 years ago. As she tries to tie the past and present together, she becomes a target.

This was a great, scary crime novel!

Read November 2014.


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