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The Snakes

by Sadie Jones

Literary Fiction Thriller and Suspense

LoveReading View on The Snakes

Goosebumps still compete in a race down my arms when I think about The Snakes, it is remarkable, truly remarkable, so please just trust me when I say this is a must-read. Bea and Dan rent out their flat so they can travel, stopping off at her brother’s hotel in France on route. When Bea’s parents unexpectedly visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea has kept them at arms length and refused their financial help all of these years, surely it can’t hurt to get to know them? Sadie Jones is a master storyteller, apparently simple sentences gang together to create a slicing tension. There is a purity to the writing, even though the very darkest of human attributes are so wonderfully and tellingly observed as the tale unfolds. This isn’t a comfortable read, but gosh it’s compelling, I sat and read it in one heady afternoon. I felt on high alert, my mind unclouded as I tasted, tested, scrutinised both the thoughts of the characters, and my own. ‘The Snakes’ is powerful and provocative, not in a shouty, boastful way, it slid into my mind, creating and filling secret spaces, and when I reached the last few pages, and read the final words, I just stopped and sat in wondering heart-hammering silence.

Liz Robinson

The Snakes Synopsis

Family secrets can be deadly...

Newly-weds Dan and Bea decide to escape London. Driving through France in their beaten-up car they anticipate a long lazy summer, worlds away from their ordinary lives.

But their idyll cannot last. Stopping off to see Bea's brother at his crumbling hotel, the trio are joined unexpectedly by Bea's ultra-wealthy parents. Dan has never understood Bea's deep discomfort around them but living together in such close proximity he begins to sense something is very wrong.

Just as tensions reach breaking point, brutal tragedy strikes, exposing decades of secrets and silence that threaten to destroy them all.

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Closing date: 30/11/2020

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The Snakes Press Reviews

Both a cautionary tale and a pitch-black race-to-the-end thriller - Justine Jordon - Guardian, Books of the Year*

Deliciously wicked... the perfect antidote to a relaxing summer's day... hypnotic - like staring into the serpent's eyes just before it strikes -- Ron Charles - Washington Post

Jones's fifth novel is a fantastic read as a thriller, but where Jones excels, is in her microscopic yet compassionate scrutiny of relationships: the unconditional doting of a flawed sibling; the sickening toxicity of a vicious but powerful parent; the watchful care and explosions of irritation between spouses -- Maria Crawford - Financial Times, Summer Reads of 2019*

Determined to escape the nine-to-five monotony, Bea and Dan head to France to visit Bea's wayward brother Alex, who runs a hotel where the only guests are snakes in the attic. The peace is shattered when Bea's parents arrive, bringing conflict and misery. From a sedate start, Jones deftly builds the tension to a horrific and powerful conclusion. - The Telegraph

The Snakes unfolds in clean, functional prose and Jones has a lot to say about the way we live now -- Johanna Thomas-Corr - Evening Standard

Jones's style is immediate and lively and she is particularly good at dialogue, which she uses a great deal, often to advance the fast-paced plot -- Elisa Seagrave - Literary Review

Unsettling, thought-provoking and beautifully written, you won't be able to get this out of your head -- Caroline Robb - Heat

The ending is devastating -- Jeffrey Burke - Mail on Sunday

An all-encompassing read from the first page to the devastating final paragraph -- Alice O'Keeffe - The Bookseller

Sadie Jones... knows how to construct a narrative of great emotional power. Her prose is crisp and precise, studded with spiky observations -- Andrew Taylor - Spectator

The Snakes has all of Jones's trademark depth and layered storytelling -- Sarra Manning - Red

[A] menacing new contemporary thriller... a tantalising set-up, after which the plot zigzags unpredictably to a brutally stark finale that steals the breath -- Anthony Cummins - Metro

This gripping read drips with a menace that builds of the shocking final pages -- Joanne Finney - Good Housekeeping, Book of the Month*

I was absolutely gripped by this original and beautifully-told story of a couple enmeshed in a nest of vipers - a rich family of criminals. Its evocation of a sinister French house, the corruption of love and the powerlessness of good is both haunting and chilling. Nobody contemporary writes about unhappy families as well as Sadie Jones. -- Amanda Craig

A menacing, beautifully written novel - Guardian, Summer Reads of 2019*

Masterful, terrifying, dangerous, with an ending that is as uncompromising as the build-up is truthful. The Snakes is as beautifully written as it is dark and honest. -- Rachel Joyce

A suspenseful, beautifully written thriller about the corruption of money and abuse within a dysfunctional family - Guardian

I am blowing the trumpet for The Snakes to anyone who'll listen. I devoured the book, awed by its beauty and brilliance. We'll be lucky if 2019 brings us much else of this rank. This is wickedly good writing and something really special. Sadie Jones has talent to burn. -- Billy O'Callaghan

Ever since her debut, The Outcast, Jones has peopled her propulsive plots with nuanced, dimensional creations imbued with human failings and graces. The Snakes is no exception... Jones crafts a pitiless shock ending; a denouement that refuses closure and resonates long after the book is set aside... [the ending is] bound to become a talking point -- Suzi Feay - Financial Times

The Snakes is gripping from the outset, then finally unputdownable. The writing is magnificent. One of the most powerful and uncompromising novels I've read in years. -- Jonathan Coe

The Snakes asks serious questions about human nature, avarice and justice, wrapped in the fast-paced rhythms of a thriller. It is written with Jones's trademark economy and a fierce attention to the nuances of familial cruelty... I finished The Snakes with a juddering heart, strangely close to tears -- Elizabeth Lowry - Guardian

The Snakes is superbly written, each sentence punctuated by a drumbeat of menace, each word placed with a master's touch. I keep thinking about the questions it poses: about what it is to be good in these imperfect times; about how we can protect our humanity in the face of narcissism and greed. Yet for all its depth and mystery, The Snakes is also just a thrillingly good read -- Elizabeth Day

Sadie Jones is such an enjoyable novelist to spend time with. Her books are so easy to read, while each sentence is rich in meaty observation... Elegantly atmospheric... The Snakes left me breathless -- Claire Allfree - Daily Mail

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781784708825
Publication date: 20/02/2020
Publisher: Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781784742553
Publication date: 07/03/2019
Publisher: Chatto & Windus an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9781473558700
Publication date: 07/03/2019
Publisher: Vintage Digital
Format: Ebook

Book Information

ISBN: 9781784708825
Publication date: 20th February 2020
Author: Sadie Jones
Publisher: Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 448 pages
Genres: Literary Fiction, Thriller / Suspense,
Categories: Thriller / suspense, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Sadie Jones

Sadie Jones is a novelist and screenwriter who was born and brought up in London. Her first novel, The Outcast ('Riveting', Lionel Shriver; 'Devastatingly good', Daily Mail) was the winner of the Costa First Novel Award. It was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize and was a Richard and Judy Summer Reads Number One bestseller. Sadie adapted The Outcast for BBC Television in 2014. Her second novel, Small Wars, ('Outstanding', The Times; 'One of the best books about the English at war ever', Joel Morris), was published in 2009, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her third, in 2010, was The Uninvited Guests. 2009 (...

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