'I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,' she said. She didn't feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air. Bea and Dan, recently married, let out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving down through France they visit Bea's dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic. When Alex and Bea's parents make a surprise visit Dan can't understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she's never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea's ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she's been keeping. Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its heart, and then its rotten core, and even Bea with all her strength and goodness can't escape.
AUTHOR: Sadie Jones is a novelist and screenwriter who was born and brought up in London. Her first novel, The Outcast (`Devastatingly good', Daily Mail) won the Costa First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. It was also a Richard and Judy Summer Reads number one bestseller and adapted for BBC Television. Her second novel, Small Wars (`Outstanding', The Times; `One of the best books about the English at war ever', Joel Morris), was published in 2009, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her third, in 2012, was The Uninvited Guests (`A shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class... a brilliant novel', Ann Patchett) followed by Fallout in 2014 (`Intoxicating and immersive', The Sunday Times).