Book Review | The Serpent’s Bite
Title: The Serpent’s Bite
Author: Warren Adler
The plot of The Serpent’s Bite had real potential, but I think it fell short in the execution.
I don’t mind dark and twisted characters and as a psychology major, I am usually very fascinated by them, but it was hard to appreciate Courtney. I think part of the problem was the multiple points of view. If the book had just focused on Courtney’s thoughts and motives I think it would have had more punch, but it jumped from one character to another which made them all seem to blend together. Especially since they all seemed to curse up a storm. I expected the guide, Harry, to use the language that he did because he is a drunk, but all the other characters would throw out the f-bomb like candy and it didn’t make sense to me. I suppose if Courtney had used it solely in private with her brother, but she would use it regardless of who she was around. I would think that if she grew up in a house with a lot of money she would have grown up a little more conscious of how she looks to others…at least to her father. But it didn’t matter if he was around or not, she cussed like a sailor and I hated it.
The father, Temple, was also a frustrating character to me. Working in gemology, he prides himself on his attention to detail and organization, and yet this trip he acts like an old, senile fool. Before they even left he had problems with the guide and instead of standing his ground, he cowered and gave in. This behavior continues throughout the book, actually getting worse as the book nears the end. I wanted him to be stronger. Especially since the reason behind the rift between himself and his kids was because he had put his foot down about giving them money. Where was that tough fatherly love? I wanted to see that, not the pushover that he was throughout the book.
The best, and really only believable character, was the brother, Scott. As the story progresses you learn why he lacks a backbone and why his life has ended up as a big disappointment to his father. But more importantly, you see some development with him in a positive direction which I appreciated. He was the main reason I wanted to push through to the end of the book.
I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. It was unexpected, though I wouldn’t necessarily say satisfying. But that is mainly due to the epilogue, which I wish hadn’t been included in the book. It left me with more questions than I had when the book was initially over and I would have preferred my own idea of how it ended. I would suggest skipping it, but that’s just my opinion.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*