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 JUNE 2013

Julie's Bookshelf
Betrayal by Serpent
Judith M. Kerrigan
Privately Published
09780985706609, $17.95, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Seven years after the death of her husband in a fiery plane crash, Anna Kinnealy believes all the trauma and struggle she and her children have endured will be ended when he is declared legally dead. But there is murderous revenge on someone's agenda, a police investigation into their lives, and secrets slowly emerging that demand Anna dig into the past before they all become victims of greed and hatred. In a journey that takes her from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to the jungles of the Yucatan and back, Anna finds courage she never thought she had, betrayal so painful she can only put her head down and weep, depths of rage she never knew she could feel, and two men whose love for her completely changes her life.

Critique: Simply stated, "Betrayal by Serpent" is a terrific mystery novel that holds the readers total attention from beginning to end. Superbly crafted characters, an imaginative plot, and detailed backdrops, mark Judith M. Kerrigan as a master storyteller. Also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99), "Betrayal by Serpent" is highly recommended for fans of the mystery genre who will eagerly look forward to Wisconsin author Kerrigan's sequel, "In Crocodile Waters" when it comes out later this year.

James Callan's review
     Kerrigan has crafted a novel heavy with suspense and mystery. You quickly form your own suspicions about the good guys and the bad guys. Some of them are wrong. But even when you're right, Kerrigan doesn't really let you know for a long time. The story is intricate, racing between Wisconsin and the Yucatan peninsula. Her descriptions are detailed and very visual. You get a good feel for the places she takes you. One weak point is that, perhaps due to her approach, there is much "telling" us what is happening instead of showing us. Anna, the protagonist, tells much of the story as entries into a journal she keeps daily. Some of these entries would make great scenes, and Kerrigan has the ability to put us right in the middle of scenes when she chooses. My only other complaint is that at times the internal monologue goes on too long. Kerrigan has such great suspense scenes, I wanted to say, skip these thoughts and get on with the action. On the other hand, I must admit that the reader certainly knows Anna extremely well and with Kerrigan's carefully crafted action scenes we know what Anna is going through, what she feels and how she will react. Kerrigan also works in a good bit of information on the Yucatan and Mexican traditions, in a most interesting fashion.

     I've mentioned two areas that in my opinion might have been handled better. But put that aside. Overall, it is a great read. It will definitely keep you interested. It will keep you guessing. It will make you look for more books by Judith Kerrigan. I recommend it to anyone who likes a suspense novel.

     Here are some of the reviews from Amazon.com which readers have written. Some are friends, one is a relative and others are persons who review books in exchange for a copy of the book. All are three to five star reviews, which is delightful and amazing to me.
     ​As a first-time writer, I hoped for good reviews. I knew that not everyone would like my book. I don't necessarily love every book I read. And heaven knows, I am sure I can improve. What is very gratifying is that so many readers agree that I can definitely write a good book.
     ​So thanks to all who have reviewed my book and I hope you will love the next one, In Crocodile Waters, published in 2014. The last of this trilogy, The Jaguar Hunts, will be published in June, 2016.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great debut, December 9, 2012
By Dawn Gray (Green Bay, WI USA)
This review is for: Betrayal by Serpent (Kindle Edition)
I was pleased and proud when Judy asked me to read her book... and a little apprehensive. First books can sometimes be painful. I can honestly say that painful is NOT one of the things this book is.
"Betrayal by Serpent" is a complex and riveting thriller. Beginning with Anna's heartbreak upon the unexpected death of her husband, through the process of building a life by herself for her family, and on to the horrors that she had to fight through, I was drawn into the story and didn't want it to end.
I am eagerly looking forward to the next book.

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, November 25, 2012
By Jeannie R
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is for: Betrayal by Serpent (Paperback)
I don't even know where to begin! This book is one of the most riveting books I have ever read! From the very first chapter you are sucked into a world of intrigue and suspense until the very last word! Incredible attention to detail and clever twists to the story keep the reader on the edge of their seat, and unwilling to put the book down until the very last page is turned! If you are looking for a great read, this is most definitely the book for you!

January 22, 2013
By Louise Daul
This review is for: Betrayal by Serpent (Paperback)
This book kept my attention and was thought provoking, well written, interesting, and has great format. I would highly suggest reading.

By Nancy Behling Dillon on June 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This was a very engrossing book - I had trouble putting it down. I kept thinking I was getting near the end but then another twist would present itself. At times it seemed a little difficult to believe, but then it is fiction. The protagonist grows on you as do the main characters. At times it was a challenge to follow some of the minor characters and their connection to Anna. The style, Anna's journals, was an interesting approach. Not being one who journals, I wondered if the length and details are pretty standard - it seemed to me to be very unlikely but it made for good reading. I was a little disappointed in the ending - spoiler alert - it doesn't wrap things up but gets the reader ready for the sequel, which I will most definitely read, even if I am not provided with a complementary copy as I was for this book.

Intriguing Mystery, April 20, 2013
By Patsy Packer (Wisconsin)
This review is for: Betrayal by Serpent (Kindle Edition)
I had a double reason to want to read this book as I live in a small village near Green Bay WI and couldn't wait to see which towns, landmarks etc. were depicted. I wasn't disappointed! The book keeps you pushing along to its ending but I kept wondering why Anna waited so long to put two and two together since she was so aware of many of the events and the potential outcome. Intrigue, lots of characters and Anna's journal entries provide a suspenseful mystery. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

C. Phillips "Auntycon 2" (PG Florida)
This review is for: Betrayal by Serpent (Kindle Edition)
Oh my, this book has so many twists and turns it is hard to stay up with but you keep reading because it is also very well written. The characters are very well developed for the most part and you want to keep reading more to find out what happens next. It starts out as a naïve housewife with 4 children, who looses who (sic) husband and faces events that she never imagined. Wow, trouble will not end for her even with her help from her attorney. What a good page turner if you like mystery and intrigue this is your book.
I received this book for my review.

Well-written and settings are beautifully described but needlessly elaborate...
By T. Dewhirst on June 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Amazon Verified Purchase
Whatever else could be said about Betrayal by Serpent, it cannot be called a poorly written novel. I don't think I've read a technically better written novel. If there are errors, this reader didn't see them. I do think that the end result of the exhaustive exposition is that we know Anna as a character very well and yet there are moments that still rung a little false to the ear. People are unpredictable and so are characters. Could she do it is rather a different question from is she likely to do it.

I have heard much about the new genre of fiction known as "emotofiction" and wondered if Kerrigan's novel fit into that category. There is a constant weight of emotion about the book. When Anna goes to the lawyers office at the start of the novel there is a trepidation that is palpable to the reader. Are we on this ride with Anna and if she were someone more suited to me would I have been emotionally soaring with her until the end? With her in the ups and downs and crawling on the jungle floor?

In the end, this was not a novel for me. There was always a sense that an editor with a machete could have made it into something more palatable. There were few points where I didn't think the narrative could use some pruning but I am not the author and this novel was not my vision. Well written though it was this reader found it to be trying at points and had to push ahead to keep reading. If you like epic sagas, Betrayal by Serpent may be the book for you.