February 14, 2011

Awakening by S. J. Bolton

An idyllic village is thrown into turmoil in a startling, heart-racing thriller.

Veterinary surgeon Clara Benning is young and intelligent, but practically a recluse.  Disfigured by a childhood accident, she lives alone and shies away from human contact wherever possible. But when a man dies, following a supposed snake bite, Clara learns that the victim's post mortem shows a higher concentration of venom than could ever be found in a single snake.

Assisted by her softly spoken neighbour and an eccentric reptile expert, Clara unravels sinister links to a barbaric ancient ritual, an abandoned house and a fifty year old tragedy that left the survivors fiercely secretive.  Then the village's inventive attacker strikes again, and Clara's own solitary existence is brutally invaded.  For someone the truth must remain buried in the past...even if they have to kill to keep it there.

S. J. Bolton's suspense novels are like no other mystery suspense novels I have ever read. Browsing Chapters a couple years ago, I happened to see the cover of Sacrifice (a bright gold ring on a gloomy bluish coastal background) and it intrigued me so I read the back blurb...I love elements of science and the supernatural...so I took a chance on Bolton's debut. Well, I wasn't disappointed and Sacrifice stayed in my thoughts (and possibly nightmares) for days after I had read it.  I continued to follow the efforts of Bolton, acquiring Awakening and an ARC copy of Blood Harvest.  So I've finally gotten around to reading Bolton's sophomore effort, Awakening, and its just as gripping and creepy. For me, it didn't have the shock value of Sacrifice but it was more focused. Yes, there is a lot about snakes in this book, but if anything they are treated with respect...and its the humans who are the real serpents!!

What do I love about these novels.  Pungent description, authenticity, damaged female protagonists, multi-layered plots, and science and the supernatural co-mingling (slightly gothic feel). I don't like horror but I love a good thrill and a bit of ugliness doesn't turn my stomach.

The Times stated of Bolton "S.J. Bolton has elevated herself to the High Priestess of English Rural Gothic. If she carries on like this she will have worshippers in their millions."  I heartily agree. If you appreciate great mystery/suspense novels, YOU MUST read Bolton. An author not to be missed!!! S. J. Bolton's next effort is Now You See Me, to be released May 26, 2011 in hardcover.

My Rating: 4.0


Related Posts:
New Release by S.J. Bolton - Awakening
Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton

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