I started reading Season of the Snake with mild interest. From the back cover copy, I knew it was a suspenseful story about two sisters, one of them a snake researcher. I knew it was about one of those sisters marrying a man with dark proclivities that were beginning to emerge from the shadows. But what I didnít know, or expect, was a tense, gripping, utterly haunting story with a strong sinister undercurrent, a story that would have me under its dark spell until the very end.
Author Claire Davis spins an intricate and beautifully written story of relationships - with self, with others, with nature. Her story focuses on Nance Able, a snake researcher whose beloved husband, Joe, has tragically died. Now Nance is married to a new love, a man named Ned, and her sister Meredith is also a big presence in her life. Add to that her field work as a scientist tracking rattlesnakes, and her life should be pretty full and content.
But something about Ned bothers her, on a deep, intuitive level. As the story progresses, we come to understand why, as Nedís dark past emerges ready to break open what future he and Nance have. The disturbing elements of Nedís double life are like a snake in the grass, laying low, ready to strike, as Nance and her sister try to make sense of what is happening.
Season of the Snake sneaks up on you. The language is lush and detailed with description and emotion, the characters rounded and strong, the dialog subtle and ripe with all that is never said between two people who love each other, or claim to. Itís a creepy story of horror, but not the kind that comes from serial killers with saws, or monsters in the shadows. These monsters are real, and the shadows they spring forth from are the worst kind. The human kind.