Clara Benning, a veterinary surgeon in charge of a wildlife hospital in a small English village, is young and intelligent, but nearly a recluse. Disfigured by a childhood accident, she generally prefers the company of animals to people. But when a local man dies following a supposed snakebite, Clara’s expertise is needed. She’s chilled to learn that the victim’s postmortem shows a higher concentration of venom than could ever be found in a single snake—and that therefore the killer must be human.Assisted by a soft-spoken neighbor and an eccentric reptile expert, Clara unravels sinister links to an abandoned house, an ancient ritual, and a fifty-year-old tragedy that has left the survivors secretive. But for someone the truth must remain buried in the past—even if they have to kill to keep it there.Awakening is a disturbing tale of dark secrets and insidious rituals that will have readers unable to stop for a breath until they’ve reach the stunning climax of this extraordinary read from the author of the acclaimed debut novel Sacrifice.
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Advance Praise for Awakening“Page-turning suspense and spectacular snake science . . . Murky, abandoned churches and dark family secrets stretching back a generation lend a compelling gothic sensibility to this story of a woman who awakens to new possibilities.”—BooklistPraise for Sacrifice“This riveting debut novel . . . just might be the page-turner of the summer. . . . It’s been a long time since we’ve devoured a book this length at one sitting. . . . Extraordinary.”—Denver Post“The plot never loses interest, the setting is beautiful . . . and the characters are well drawn. This is S. J. Bolton’s first book. I hope it’s the first of many.”—The Charlotte Observer“Brilliant plot with mythic overtones . . . This promising new talent delivers some profound insights into the eternal nature of evil.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)“Val McDermid meets Patricia Cornwell on the North Sea.”—St. Petersburg Times
SHARON BOLTON grew up in Lancashire, England, and now lives near Oxford with her family. Awakening, her second novel, is inspired by her fascination with British folklore. Visit her online at www.sjbolton.com. Sharon Bolton was previously published as S.J. Bolton.
S.J. BoltonSharon Bolton
Mary Higgins Clark Award Nominee