21 Aug A Generation of Vipers by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett
Ophidiophobes look away now!
Snakes come in all different shapes and sizes, and some are more dangerous than others! But they’ll only strike when threatened – unlike the human serial killer who is on the prowl at Heath Rise, where Dr Nell Ward and her fellow ecologists are conducting a survey of the local wildlife, that includes adders, bats and nightjars, prior to a development being built.
It is Nell who discovers the body of a young woman brutally strangled, and her ex-romantic partner DI James Clark who must investigate the gruesome finding, linking it to a series of murders that goes back over twenty years.
He realises the killer has a type – and that type looks just like Nell. She is in danger.
Meanwhile, Nell tries to get on with her job, while dealing with huge personal issues. Her fiancé Rav is in hospital after a serious car accident, and may never walk again. As he retreats behind a wall of depression, his family blame her. Will they find their way back to each other?
As James investigates the murders, he identifies four possible suspects, all of whom have recently become colleagues of Nell’s.
The reader already knows this, having been given access to the murderer’s evil thoughts.
But is it Drew the new head of finance, Tom the intern, Simon the twitcher or Amir the snake charmer? Or someone else we don’t yet suspect?
A tense and creepy atmosphere
There is so much going on in this story! It’s book four of a series featuring Nell Ward, who unwittingly finds herself caught up in murder mysteries and invariable falls into danger trying to solve them. Amazon bills them as “cosy crime” but I found this story much darker than that. There is no humour here – but what it lacks in laughs it more than makes up for in a tense and creepy atmosphere and a real sense of danger.
It can be read stand-alone. Nell and Rav’s story is easy to pick up on, which is fortunate as it is one of the main threads of the story. This personal aspect of her life helps flesh her out as a fully-rounded, sympathetic character.
I can also empathise with her inherent dislike of the snakes she must deal with! They feature prominently in the story – the proposed development and the relocation of wildlife is another major thread.
Of course the most important thread is the murders, and the secondary threads dovetail nicely into the main plot, with everything coming together to a satisfactory resolution.
I enjoyed this murder mystery, though I probably learned more about snakes than I ever wanted to know!
A Generation of Vipers is published by Embla in ebook
About the Author
After spending sixteen years as an ecologist, crawling through undergrowth and studying nocturnal habits of animals (and people), Dr Sarah Yarwood-Lovett naturally turned her mind to murder. She may have swapped badgers for bears when she emigrated from a quaint village in the South Downs to the wild mountains of the Pacific Northwest, but her books remain firmly rooted in the rolling downland she grew up in.
Forensically studying clues for animal activity has seen Sarah surveying sites all over the UK and around the world. She’s re-discovered a British species thought to be extinct during her PhD, with her record held in London’s Natural History Museum; debated that important question – do bats wee on their faces? – at school workshops; survived a hurricane on a coral atoll whilst scuba diving to conduct marine surveys; and given evidence as an expert witness.
Along the way, she’s discovered a noose in an abandoned warehouse and had a survey de-railed by the bomb squad. Her unusual career has provided the perfect inspiration for a series of murder mysteries with an ecological twist – so, these days, Sarah’s research includes consulting detectives, lawyers, judges and attending murder trials.
Thanks to Tracy of Compulsive Readers for inviting me along on this tour, and to publishers EmblaBooks for an advance copy of this book. Catch up with the rest of the blogtour through the links on the poster.
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