Snakebite by Robert Swindells - Barrington Stoke Book 37

According to the Author's Note Snakebite by Robert Swindells is inspired by a Bradford journalist, so just about qualifies for my search for books with a local connection. In fact, judging by the language, it seems to be set in Glasgow (although I am basing this on a view viewings of Trainspotting and the Chritopher Brookmyre books I have been reading recently.

Where ever it's set, Snakebite is a smart read, with an engaging narrative direct from Alex, the unemployed, bullied main narrator. He's into animals and gets a snake for his seventeenth birthday. Because he's lonely, bored and scared of the violent gang members on the estate, he starts taking the snake out with him.

Almost inevitably the snake in the pocket comes into it's own. but not before the bullying becomes pretty scary. It is made worse by some very dark undertones. Alex's parents are oblivious, the police don't care and the gang are linked in with some serious drug gangs.

The use of language, "acting the numpty" and Alex's general upbeat demeanour take the edge of what would otherwise be a terrifying tale.

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