Review: The Snakes by Sadie Jones

The Snakes by Sadie Jones

Paperback Publication Date : February 20, 2020

Genre: Thriller

'I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,’ she said. She didn’t feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air.

Bea and Dan, recently married, let out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving down through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic.

When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping.

Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its heart, and then its rotten core, and even Bea with all her strength and goodness can’t escape.


‘Elegantly atmospheric…Jones is excellent on the English obsession with status. While her denouncement is risky, its abrupt swerve left me breathless’- Daily Mail

‘She knows how to construct a narrative of great emotional power. Her prose is crisp and precise, studded with spiky observations’ – Spectator

‘Masterful, terrifying, dangerous, with an ending that is as uncompromising as the build-up is truthful. The Snakes is as beautifully written as it is dark and honest.’ - Rachel Joyce

‘A breathtaking view of family dysfunction Sadie Jones… shows a craftier way to tackle the city’s division in her menacing new contemporary thriller. The plot zigzags unpredictably to a brutally stark finale that steals the breath. - Anthony Cummins, Metro

‘I was expecting this to be good. But, I have to tell you, I was awestruck. This is all-consuming from the first page to the devastating final paragraph…What follows is completely gripping: a story of the coruscating effects of money, greed and corruption. It is a stunningly good novel and – I know its only March – I may not read a better this year.’ Alice O’Keeffe, Bookseller ‘Book of the Month’



Bea and Dan need a break so they take a trip to visit Bea's brother who owns an old hotel in France. When they arrive they are shocked that they are the only guests there, well other than the snakes that took over the attic.

But those snakes aren't the most dangerous creatures in the hotel. When Bea's parents arrive at the hotel the atmosphere changes. Bea's husband Dan has never understood just how rich her parents are or why she is estranged from them, but it's soon apparent.

"Before, Bea's family money had been notional, he could forget it, but seeing them now, rich was all they were. Everything they did and everything they said radiated it."

I wasn't quite sure where the story was going and then there was a twist that got it back going again.

Man, talk about a dysfunctional family! Whew - this family had it spades! I absolutely despised the father, and the mother creeped me out - in fact, I can't say that I liked any of the characters all that much. But that doesn't make me like or dislike a book. I love to hate characters - makes reading a little more interesting sometimes.

With a mix of mystery, family drama (to the max), commentary on current politics and money and modern-day racism, The Snakes was an interesting read.

I definitely did not see the ending coming! It felt a little unsatisfactory, but I think it fit the darkness of the book well.

Thanks to Anne Cater for the chance to read and review The Snakes!

About the Author

SADIE JONES is a screenwriter and a #1 Sunday Times bestselling author. Her first novel, The Outcast won the Costa First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. It was also a Richard and Judy Summer Reads number one bestseller and adapted for BBC Television. Sadie also wrote: Small Wars (2009), The Uninvited Guests (2012) and Fallout (2014). Her fifth novel, The Snakes, was listed as ‘March book of the month’ in The Bookseller.


  1. Thanks for the blog tour support Amy xx

  2. I do love a good thriller! I like the dark aspect as well so I'll definitely be looking at this one! reading Jess Wells' Straight Uphill: A Tale of Love and Chocolate, it's so good I don't want to put it down but the end is coming and it makes me sad. But good that I have Jones' book on the radar!

  3. I felt the same way as you did! But omg, that ending. I was not prepared, and I'm super angry still!


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