Thursday, October 18, 2012

REVIEW: The Shape of Snakes by Minette Walters

The Shape of Snakes Title: The Shape of Snakes
Author: Minette Walters
1st Published: 2001
Genre: Mystery, Fiction
Finish Reading: October, 2012
First Sentence: I could never decide whether "Mad Annie" was murdered because she was mad or because she was black.

Synopsis: November 1978. The winter of discontent. Britain is on strike. The dead lie unburied, garbage piles in the streets - and somewhere in West London a black woman dies in a rain-filled gutter. Known as "Mad Annie", she was despised by her neighbours. Her passing would have gone unmourned and unnoticed but for the young woman who finds her and believes - apparently against reason - that Annie was murdered. Yet whatever the truth about Annie - whether she was as mad as her neighbours claimed, whether she lived in squalor as the police said, whether she cruelly mistreated the cats found starving in her house - something passed between her and Mrs. Ranelagh in the moment of death that binds this one woman to her cause for the next 20 years.

But why is Mrs. Ranelagh so convinced it was murder, when, by her own account, Annie died without speaking? Why does the subject make her husband so angry that he refuses to talk about what happened that night? And why would any woman spend 20 painstaking years uncovering the truth - unless her reasons are personal? (source:

SoO… I checked this book out because someone in the book community mentioned it… and they made it sound like a really good book… well the synopsis did, but this book wasn't great… it was okay or at least in my opinion. Don't get me wrong it's still a good book, it kept me interested till the end since it was very well written. Walters does a great job in bringing the characters to life. The story its self has an eerie atmosphere. So… if you don't like that don't pick this book up anytime soon. It also has sexual references in which most people would not want to experience consider yourself warned.

Despite the fact that the writing, characters, and story were well developed. At times I wasn't "into it" as I should have been. I do not remember the characters by name… though I do remember what some of them did. The story its self got kind of worn out for me since it's basically about a woman (Mrs. Ranelagh) who is literally obsessed with the case of Annie Butts death. I know someone would wonder what actually happened the night of November 14, 1978 but 20 years!! That's just too much… or at least in my opinion.

By the end I did actually like the book though I was kind of disturbed to know what actually happened to Annie Butts and felt so bad for her. In the end I gave The Shape of Snakes by Minette Walters three stars, since I know I will most likely remember this book in the long run. Maybe not remember everyones names… but I will remember the case.

• I wasn't a fan of any of the characters. They all seemed to have motive. (Hey! What did you expect from a dark mystery novel.)
• I didn't like the KKK poster in the beginning of the book. Though I did realize it's relevance by the end of the book.
• I didn't like the fact that Annie Butts had tourette's syndrome, unless the author wanted to show how people with tourette's syndrome were treated at one point; through flashbacks. (I just don't like how the characters treated someone with tourette's syndrome, but then again people could be ignorant of that fact.)

• Writing - It's almost scary how most of this book can actually be based on a true story. Meaning despite the fact that this book has a very dark atmosphere this book has a realistic tone to it. I can only hope that no one has the same death experience that Annie Butts had, because no one deserves to die that way.



It was a good book. Something I can remember in the long run.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆
Overall (Goodreads) Rating: 3.71 Stars
( o u t . o f . f i v e . stars)

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