Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Todd Ritter

Todd Ritter is the author of Death Notice, his debut mystery featuring small-town police chief Kat Campbell. Although he now lives in suburban New Jersey, he was born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, where he encountered way too many snakes.

Earlier this month I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I am terrified of snakes. I don’t discriminate between shape, size, color and killing capability. I’m scared of all of them. A few years ago, a baby garter snake sitting by the door held me hostage in the men’s room at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in northern New Jersey. That’s how much they freak me out.

Knowing this, it would stand to reason that I shouldn’t be reading Awakening by S.J. Bolton, which is about an English village infested with snakes. Very early in the book, Bolton describes a venomous snake lying peacefully on top of a sleeping baby. That alone should have made me drop the book and run screaming.

But Awakening is about far more than snakes. In fact, snakes aren’t really the villain here. And Bolton sets a furious pace that never lags. So I keep reading, even when she drags the heroine, animal expert Clara Benning, into a house that contains dozens of serpents slithering among the drapes, chairs and bedspreads. Sure, it makes me squeal, squirm and check under the bed for rogue taipans and adders, but it’s too late to stop reading. Awakening has its hooks (or, to use a hoary pun, fangs) in me.
Learn more about Death Notice and its author at Todd Ritters' website.

--Marshal Zeringue