Michael Smith's Reviews > Serpent's Tooth

Serpent's Tooth by Toni V. Sweeney
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it was amazing

On a cruise Melissa bonds with an older man, Travis, who turns out to be a famous celebrity in hiding from a once successful life. But by degrees we become aware that his enormous success came at the price of bonding with demonic forces. Although he later rejected these dark powers in favor of a return to sanity and anonymity, such eternal entities simply are not going to forget him. Librarian Melissa, who as a youngster worshipped the former rock god and movie star Travis in his first incarnation as Hildebrand, comes to accept the reborn Travis as he is, and she becomes his ticket back to full life and normality. While he hides the truth from her as long as he can, he truly loves her and believes he’s doing best by keeping her in the dark about his past.

The novel slowly builds moods of romance and horror, beginning as a love story with a just a tiny drop of evil in the background. But as the characters continue to develop though excellent dialog and effortlessly-sketched psychic interaction, the percentage of romance to horror starts uneasily… shifting … and finally we’re confronted by a flat-out horror novel, its unconventional story arc challenging our expectations of an easy, plot-driven vanquishing of raw evil.

Flashbacks are necessary and clearly labeled as such. The novel captures the many moods of Melissa adjusting to her future with Travis as she moves from her urban life to a horse farm in Nebraska, juxtaposed with the chronicle of Travis’ long journey though darkness and his struggle back towards the light. As troubling new hints of something seriously amiss begin to mount, Melissa and Travis strive for unity and love even as they make mistakes … sometimes serious mistakes.

Serpent’s Tooth accelerates to a shocking conclusion and one can only hope there’s a continuation of this story, some new life for Melissa and Travis. The reader must be curious as to how the couple might manage to go on. But then again, you just can’t trust those junior varsity demons who have so much at stake here!

review by Michael D. Smith

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Reading Progress

December 9, 2014 – Started Reading
December 9, 2014 – Shelved
December 25, 2014 – Finished Reading

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