Title: The Serpent’s Bite
Author: Warren Adler
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Stonehouse Press
Release Date: September 4, 2012
The Serpent’s Bite earns 3 stars, though it could have been 5. I have very mixed feelings about this book and will explain why later in the review.
A family that hasn’t been united in four years is about to get a reunion. You would think that this would be a pleasant event, but it does not turn out that way. They will be repeating a trek in Yellowstone Park that summons happy memories for the whole family, but a lot has changed in the past four years, as each of the three family members has their own agenda during this trip.
George Temple is the father of Scott and Courtney, both of whom are more or less ungrateful, greedy, conniving children. They are both grown now but unsuccessful as adults. Courtney is an actress that has never come close to the big-time, yet she is under the delusion, at the age of 38, that she will still make it big. Scott has had a string of bad business mistakes, but he continues to think that the next venture will be “The One”. For many years Daddy funded their venture, but after seeing that he was throwing big money down the drain, he has cut them off.
While George Temple wants a fresh start with his children, they have different ideas about this reunion with their father. Courtney has a one track mind when it comes to Daddy’s money, and she is a bloodsucking mosquito with no moral center. Scott, however, shows some promise of genuinely caring for his father and not just the money.
On their trek through Yellowstone with Harry, a professional trekker and a drunk, and Tomas, his helper and illegal immigrant, things are about to get very interesting. Scheming lies, evil intentions, and deep dark secrets are about to surface, and no one is safe.
I was very drawn into this story because it is a thriller set in a dangerous environment with family secrets and other outside elements keeping you wondering and turning the pages. It is well written, and the characters are diverse and well developed, and the wilderness is described in realistic detail. For me, however, the ending was quite a disappointment. I do not require a happy ending with a bow attached in my reading, but I do want an ending that justifies the story, especially when you’re as curious as I was to see how everything pans out. The ending felt like an easy out to me. That may not be the case, but that is how it made this reader feel. Though I would give the book 5 stars on luring the reader in and keeping the reader engaged, the ending renders my total rating down to 3 stars.
The Serpent’s Bite is set on the treacherous trails and isolated wilds of Yellowstone Park, where an aging father, George Temple, seeks to use a nostalgic horse trek to reconcile with his estranged daughter and son. They hadn’t seen one another since the passing of George’s wife nearly five years earlier and the family reunion is intended to bring back memories of their first trek 20 years earlier. The story reveals hidden secrets that plague the family and lead to disaster, and unleashes the character of Courtney Temple, one of the most evil women in fiction alongside the likes of Lady Macbeth.
Warren Adler’s books have achieved a high level of success. Two were made into movies – The War of the Roses and Random Hearts. One, The Sunset Gang, was turned into a PBS-TV trilogy and an off-Broadway play. The War of the Roses, which starred Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner (directed by Danny DeVito), was also sold this spring to become a Broadway musical (the non-musical has been adapted in over a dozen countries). His books have been published in 25 languages and have been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Today Show, Rolling Stone, and scores of leading media outlets. Warren has been dubbed “the master of dysfunction” and regularly blogs for The Huffington Post.