ForeWord Reviews

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The Serpent's Bite

Foreword Review — Fall 2012

George Temple is rich and successful in business, yet not as fortunate in his personal life. His new girlfriend and business associate, Muriel, suggests that before they take their relationship to the next level the widower should make things right with his two estranged children. In his seventies and on blood pressure medication, he nevertheless follows her advice, embarking on a horse trek through Yellowstone Park accompanied by his daughter, Courtney, and his son, Scott, plus Harry, a guide he had used on a similar trip during happier times.

Courtney is a vacuous, self-absorbed hedonist. A failed actress, she spent millions of her father’s money pursuing her dreams before she found herself cut off. Desperate to get her career back on track before she gets any older, she sees her father’s burgeoning relationship with Muriel as a threat. Scott, on the other hand, could have gone into business with his dad and had full access to his wealth yet desired instead to pursue a restaurant career. Unfortunately he is easily manipulated by his sister’s dark designs.

Harry, once a successful outfitter, has aged badly. Devolved into a hateful, bigoted drunk, he leads the family through the backwoods with less supplies and manpower than is prudent. His employee and whipping boy, Tomas, an illegal immigrant, keeps things running relatively smoothly, but Tomas quickly learns the siblings’ secret, making him a risk. Together Harry and Tomas are charged with bringing the family safely through hundreds of miles of desolate wilderness, navigating dangerous mountain trails, packs of wild animals, and the machinations of the devious siblings.

The Serpent’s Bite was written by Warren Addler, bestselling author of The War of the Roses, Random Hearts, The Sunset Gang, and some thirty other books, many of which were subsequently made into Hollywood movies or television shows. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages. As with his other novels, this one is fast-paced, easy to read, and a great way to spend an afternoon. The novel has some fairly dark themes, including graphic scenes of incest that may prove downright disturbing, depending on the reader. Regardless, like the infamous Roses, the Temples are a dysfunctional family whose story readers won’t soon forget.

Lawrence Kane