Costa winner and bestselling author Sadie Jones’s fourth novel, The Snakes, is the first she has set in the present. It tells the story of young married couple, Bea and Dan, who rent out their tiny flat to escape their life in London for a few months. She’s a psychotherapist with a social conscience and he is an estate agent who wants to be an artist.
Their trip takes them first to France to call in on Bea's brother Alex, a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, at the dilapidated hotel he runs in Burgundy. They find him alone with no guests in the bedrooms which are named after the seven deadly sins and there is a nest of snakes and rat traps in the attic.
The next day Alex and Bea's parents, the real snakes, arrive unexpectedly. At first Dan can't understand why Bea has never wanted him to meet them. They seem charming and are so rich. Bea despises them and has always refused to accept their money. Grif Adamson, the father, has built his property empire and made a huge fortune from illegal deals, the extent of which are not revealed until the end.
Tragedy strikes with a mysterious car crash and the family is drawn into a French criminal investigation, the police unfairly focusing on assumptions about mixed race Dan’s motives for marrying Bea.
The Snakes is a beautifully written, deeply unsettling thriller about the corruption of money and abuse within a dysfunctional family. Be gripped from the beginning to the shocking ending.
This review was written by Roz Masters and first appeared in the JunJul 2019 edition of OVL Magazine.