As a reviewer, it’s always such a pleasure to discover a writer whose style is fast-paced and doesn’t bog the reader down in details, whose storyline is fresh and different, and whose characters are unique and capture the imagination. For me, Deborah Levison is that kind of writer, and her first novel, A Nest Of Snakes is not one to miss if you enjoy psychological and/or legal thrillers.
From the onset of this absorbing tale, the very wealthy but reclusive protagonist, Brendan Cortland intrigues us. His behavior is strange; his mansion is filled with expensive purchases; he avoids everyone but his housekeeper, chauffeur, and therapist and he can’t stand being touched. Immediately we want to know why. When he agrees with his therapist to take his sorry case to court and begins confiding all the ugly details of his adolescent experiences in an exclusive, private boarding school in his beautiful lawyer, we are horrified and repulsed, but unable to stop reading.
While the primary plot is more than enough to keep us riveted, Levison has cleverly woven in several sub-plots around the supporting characters: the therapist, the Polish housekeeper and her chauffeur son; the young female lawyer and her father, and other students of Torburton Hall. Their stories all come together perfectly with some very unexpected twists at the end. In short, Levison never gives her readers’ imagination a dull moment! Terrific plotting and characterization make her writing a joy to read.
This is not Levison’s first book. Her previous publication, The Crate, was based on a true crime story involving her parents. After scanning the Amazon preview of that book and reading the many positive reviews, critical appraisals, and awards she received for it, it’s one I’d love to add to my reading list. As I said in my review opening, discovering Deborah Levison has been a real pleasure. I, for one, will be keeping an eye out for her next book.