SUNDAY SHOUT OUT: THE SERPENT PAPERS

Is there ever such a thing as too many books? I don’t think there are too many books to read, but there can definitely be too many to review. Often I’m sent books and, with an already sagging review shelf, these unsolicited books often often don’t fit in to my schedule. Other times, I am unable to finish a book I intended to review (for various reasons), or I don’t have time for a full review. Sunday Shout-Out aims to acknowledge these books, the authors and the publishers who have sent them to me.

Sunday Shout Out is a bookish meme hosted by Monique of Write Note Reviews. If you’re a book blogger and you want to join in, just:

  • Share the title, author, blurb and image from a book (or more than one) you want to acknowledge
  • Share the genre, price and link to the publisher so readers can follow up if they like the sound of the book
  • Ping back to Write Note Reviews in your post.

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1. The Serpent Papers by Jessica Cornwell, Quercus RRP $29.99

Three women are sacrificed to an unknown purpose, skin carved with a cryptic alphabet, tongues cut from their mouths. Sent puzzling letters – clues, or confessions? – Inspector Fabregat cannot decipher the warning within. As Barcelona explodes in revelry on the Festival of St Joan, Natalia Hernandez, flower of the National Theatre and Catalan idol, lies dead on the steps of the Cathedral. The city bays for blood, Fabregat chases riddles and shadows; signs that whisper of an enigma beyond his understanding.

Barcelona, Winter 2014: Anna Verco – academic, book thief, savant – unearths letters hidden for centuries from a lightning struck chapel on Mallorca. What they reveal drives her back to Barcelona to reignite the Hernandez investigation. Every page she turns conceals a secret message; every street she treads leads her deeper into the labyrinth. As Fabregat baits her with suspects, and threats darken her steps, Anna hunts her own prey – the book that began it all, a medieval revelation written in the language of witches and writing women: the Serpent Papers. Anna believes this book will unlock the mystery. She does not yet know she is the key.

The Serpent Papers is the first book in a trilogy. I’m not a big fan of trilogies – I’ve usually moved on before the next book comes out and I don’t have the time to go back and read the preceding book. That said, the premise for this book is bound to intrigue many readers. The first part of the book is first-person present tense, which does give that sense of now, but also doesn’t work for me so well. While this one’s not for me at the moment, I think it will appeal to readers of literary thrillers and fans of John Le Carre (the author is his grand-daughter).

1. The Widow’s Confession by Sophia Tobin, Simon & Schuster RRP $17.99

The Widow's Confession
Broadstairs, Kent, 1851. Once a sleepy fishing village, now a select sea-bathing resort, this is a place where people come to take the air, and where they come to hide… Delphine and her cousin Julia have come to the seaside with a secret, one they have been running from for years. The clean air and quiet outlook of Broadstairs appeal to them and they think this is a place they can hide from the darkness for just a little longer. Even so, they find themselves increasingly involved in the intrigues and relationships of other visitors to the town. But this is a place with its own secrets, and a dark past. And when the body of a young girl is found washed up on the beach, a mysterious message scrawled on the sand beside her, the past returns to haunt Broadstairs and its inhabitants. As the incomers are drawn into the mystery and each others’ lives, they realise they cannot escape what happened here years before…

I love the cover on this book – it conveys a dark sense of foreboding that matches its description as a book of “secrets, lies and lost innocence…” I do enjoy books with those themes, and I did pick it up to start, but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it at the time. One I hope to come back to – if you’ve read it, tell me if I need to bump it back on to the reading pile.

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Which of these would you read?