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When The Serpent Bites by Nesly Clerge
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When The Serpent Bites

by Nesly Clerge

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“You have to come to terms with what you can do and let go of thoughts about what you want to do but can’t.”

Frederick Starks had it all, a beautiful wife, three wonderful kids, a beautiful home and a thriving business, but his neat and tidy life came to an abrupt halt when he found out his wife betrayed him. When Starks takes the law into his own hands, he is convicted and thrown into a maximum security prison where he has to learn quickly to survive in a very dangerous environment.

Starks is an anti-hero. He comes across as arrogant and entitled, but also vulnerable and exposed. He not only tries to come to terms about his wife’s betrayal, but also struggles to just stay alive. Will his quick wits and business savvy keep him alive, or will more secrets in his life be his undoing? The reader will have to find out in the second of Clerge’s Stark’s Trilogy, When the Dragon Roars.

See my complete review at The Eclectic Review ( )
  sherton | Dec 23, 2017 |
Goaded by his wife’s lover Starks loses control and savagely attacks him. Now serving time for his crime Starks must learn to survive. Attack or be attacked.

When the Serpent Bites is a story of how a moment in time, one wrong decision, can change a life forever. How circumstances mould you and make you the person you become. It’s about trust and betrayal. How not letting go of anger can cause insurmountable problems. How pride can dictate your actions and the consequences of those actions.

Starks was a complex character and I don’t think I ever really got to like him. Sometimes I felt sorry for him as he could never see that he had done anything wrong. He was a proud man, as he quite often said himself, but his pride was misdirected.

This is a riveting story of one man’s fall from the top of the corporate ladder to the bowels of a maximum security prison. We slowly get to learn Starks’ story and not all is exactly as he would like us to believe at the start. He makes some crazy decisions throughout the novel and a major twist at the end has me wondering how he will react.
Looking forward to the next book!

With my thanks to the author for my copy to read and review. ( )
  Ronnie293 | Jun 11, 2016 |
3.5 stars

My biggest complaint with this book is the length. Trimming it down 50 pages or so would have made the book tighter.

Other than that, this is a great examination of the choices we make. I have a brother who's a corrections officer. He always says, we're all just one bad decision from being behind bars. It's true, & this story is an exploration of Starks' bad decision, & how he handles the consequences.

We come to know the history of Starks and his doomed marriage through his sessions with his prison shrink. In hindsight it's clear that their life was unsustainable, & that Kayla was never truly happy. It just took 20 years for it all to unravel. And when it did, it went very badly.

Starks seems to be learning some truths in his discussions with the shrink, but it's not clear that they're the lessons the counselor is trying to impart. Then again, in his current environment, Starks may be simply learning the skills he needs to survive.

The author pulls you into Starks' world enough that you can understand his actions. Yet you know that these choices are setting up a life as unsustainable as - & far more dangerous than - the life he left behind.

At the core of both existences for Starks is pride, caring for his family & those who treat him right, loyalty ... Yet he sometimes fails to truly own how his actions have contributed to his downfall. He seems to understand, but then he'll get hung up on how a wife cheating is worse than a husband cheating, or some such technicality. It's as if he is the Walter White of the penitentiary: standing up to the kingpins, starting his own rackets, keeping a hand in lots of deals.

This is a debut novel by Clerge, & it comes together very well. Pick it up when you get a chance. My thanks to the author for a copy of this book.

( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
What a great book! A real page-turner that follows one man's journey and adaptation from a charmed life to one that is completely opposite. This has everything: lies, betrayal, revenge and so much more! I look forward to your next book Mr. Clerge!! ( )
  TracyCampbell | Feb 12, 2016 |
Frederick Starks, an extremely wealthy and respected businessman married to his high school love, one night chooses to confront his wife's ex-lover and then has to learn to live with the consequences, a stay in a maximum security prison. This first part of the trilogy takes us through the courtroom drama, episodes of Starks' life growing up and building his empire and the life-changing consequences of that one fateful night as Starks adjusts to prison life.
When The Serpent Bites was a profound and poignant, character driven book. Its strong point was definitely the depth of all the characters. Nesly Clerge is obviously an avid observer of people and their behavior and with his psychological insight into the human mind has managed to create a set of extremely interesting, believable and deeply flawed people. My feelings towards Starks kept going back and forth as I was reading. One minute I absolutely despised him for some of his stupid attitudes, the next minute I would actually feel quite sorry for him.
I really enjoyed how the different sides of each character were gradually revealed. It was certainly a book that made you think and ponder about relationships, trust and, as mentioned at the beginning, choices and consequences. If you are a psychology enthusiast you will definitely enjoy Stark's therapy sessions.
When I started this book, I wasn't aware it's part of a trilogy, so be aware, it ends on a bit of a cliff hanger. I thought the twist at the end was a little predictable, but nicely done nevertheless. The book is very well written, especially for a debut novel, but I felt some parts could have been condensed. Some of it felt repetitive as events where being retold to different characters. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this, and it will be very interesting to see where the author takes his characters in the next part of this trilogy.
Thanks to Nesly Clerge and BookLover Catlady Publicity for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  Pet12 | Jan 4, 2016 |
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Frederick Starks' need gnawed at him like a painful, roving itch.
Quotations
“None of us ever knows how long we’re going to live. You have to put yourself first in this life.”
“We teach people how to treat us.”
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they will.”
“You have to come to terms with what you can do and let go of thoughts about what you want to do but can’t.”
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Nesly Clerge is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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