Wednesday, 23 May 2018

When the Serpent Bites by Nesly Clerge

Book Review

When the Serpent Bites by Nesly Clerge - Reading, Writing, Booking

"Frederick Starks's need gnawed at him like a painful, roving itch."

When The Serpent Bites (The Starks Trilogy Book 1) was written by Nesly Clerge and published by IngramSpark.

When the Serpent Bites has some strong elements and it's a fairly fresh concept, at least in my reading. However, I failed to connect with the main character of Starks, I found a lot of his actions and motivations at first predictable then, once it seems like he's going to see the light, he acts in an unbelievable way. It's clearly set up so that over the trilogy Starks is going to have some major personal insights, but it seems to stall in this first one of the series.

Frederick Starks has it all—a gorgeous wife who was his high school sweetheart, three beautiful children, a mansion and cars others envy, millions in the bank, respected in his community, admired by his employees, loved and respected by loyal friends. He revels in the hard-earned power and control he’s acquired. 

As the saying goes, “All that glitters is not gold,” which Starks discovers when gut-wrenching betrayal by his wife sends him over the edge and into a maximum security prison. 

There, Starks is a new “fish,” stripped of nearly everything he’s always relied on. In that place, where inmates and guards have their own rules and codes of conduct, Starks is forced to face the darker side of life, and his own darker side, especially when the betrayals, both inside and outside the prison, don’t stop. 

He must choose which path to follow when the line between right and wrong becomes blurred: one that leads to getting out of the physical and emotional hellhole he finds himself in or one that keeps him alive.

Starks has some pretty typical and over the top misogynistic and selfish views, and it seems at one point in the book that he's getting some realisation, but then he reverts back and becomes even worse. Maybe I just got sick of the man feeling sorry for himself.

I did like the way Starks' history is explored, you start with just his point of view of the actions that landed him in prison, then through flashbacks and sessions with his therapist the history of both Starks and his marriage starts to come out. It's well balanced and I found that neither part became too overwhelming.

I did guess a few of the revelations, some of which seemed pretty obvious, and there were a few convenient plot points littered throughout the novel.

Despite my hang ups with When the Serpent Bites I read it in almost one sitting, which rarely happens any more. So there must have been something about it, right? It's oddly compelling, especially in the way the flashbacks are balanced, and the tension in the prison scenes is palpable. Mainly I think I was hoping that Starks was going to get a grip at some point.

My Rating: 3 Stars

I received a copy of When the Serpent Bites in return for an honest review, my thanks to the author and publisher, and particularly book marketer Shayla Raquel.

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