From the Publisher
“Awakening is a delicious Gothic thriller.” Maureen Corrigan, NPR, on Awakening
“Page-turning suspense.” Booklist (A Top Ten Crime Novel of the Year)
“I was totally riveted by S. J. Bolton's second thriller, Awakening. . . . Perfect reading for a long plane trip.” Nancy Pearl on Awakening
“The page-turner of the summer . . . It's been a long time since we've devoured a book this length at one sitting. . . . We were just grateful to find ourselves in the hands of as extraordinary a storyteller as S. J. Bolton.” The Denver Post on Sacrifice
For all the Gothic elements that Bolton has wrapped around her story to create suspense, there's more satisfaction in listening to Clara talk about snakes and watching her handle them…carefully.
The New York Times
Clara Benning, a reclusive vet who's the narrator of Bolton's solid second thriller (after Sacrifice), spends her days treating badgers, boars and other wildlife at the Little Order of St. Francis in an isolated Dorset, England, village. When a distraught mother calls on Clara to remove a venomous snake from her baby's crib and another family's home is overrun with snakes, including a deadly Australian taipan, Clara realizes there must be a human agency behind the snake attacks, at least two of which will prove fatal. With the help of Assistant Chief Constable Matt Hoare and eccentric herpetologist and TV star Sean North, Clara begins to unravel a tangle of long-kept village secrets stretching back generations. Bolton milks the myriad snakes, even the harmless ones, for all they're worth, but falters with Clara, whose fraught family history (she bears disfiguring facial scars from a rarely discussed childhood accident) tends to undercut the suspense. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In Bolton's sophomore effort (after Sacrifice), solitary wildlife vet Clara Benning is called to investigate when snakes appear to be overrunning her small Dorset village. Then a man dies from what is believed to be a snakebite, but his body is full of too much venom to have been naturally caused by a single snake. At the same time, Clara's mother dies, bringing up painful childhood memories revolving around Clara's facial scar. Bolton has written a dark, eerie tale worthy of Edgar Allan Poe but in the modern style of Barbara Vine and Simon Beckett.
Jo Ann Vicarel
There is love, murder and snakes in the grass in a picturesque English village. Clara Benning is a young veterinary surgeon whose patients these days run to animals considerably less exotic than cobras. But she's logged a good bit of time in the herpetology precincts of world-class zoos. Clara knows which snakes are placid, which are poisonous and which are found in Dorsetshire only in the company of person or persons unknown. Consider the Australian taipan, aka "the Devil from Down Under." It's big, powerful, easily annoyed and routinely lethal. Clara can't explain how a taipan came to Dorset. Nor can hunky Assistant Chief Constable Matt Hoare, who's confronted with a community in rising panic. What's clear, however, is that someone pretty smart about snakes is employing them as deadly weapons. Evil is slithering through Dorset, and plucky Clara won't rest until she scotches it. Bolton (Sacrifice, 2008) overplots on occasion, but her heroine, so troubled and so valiant, is irresistible.