Betrayal by Serpent: Judith Kerrigan
Look within the reflection of a mirror and take in the image of the person standing next to you. What do you see? Now, look even closer at the reflection that you might be hiding within that mirror the one that you cannot see clearly but is definitely there. One person, two faces that have several different personalities that make up that face or image that you think you see within the reflection of that mirror. But, remember in a house of mirrors images are often distorted, body forms are enhanced, enlarged or changed and what the mirror reflects back at you is not always what is real. What happens if the image that you have within you minds of the person you have spent the better part of your life with is really that second image that has been hidden behind that distorted glass?
Anna Kinnealy is about to find out what happens when someone in her life is taken from her and the reasons are suspicious. One phone call, cold, callous and unfeeling would create a chain of events that would take her life and that of her family’s on a downward spiral. But, just how much can she take and what is her breaking point? Seven years ago her husband Art was killed in plane crash that left his body totally charred and the second person in the plane without a scratch. Anna did not want to forget every moment of the tragedy, nor ever encounter with the police, the lawyers and members of his firm so she recorded these events in a journal. Words are powerful when spoken but her words would become the answers to that might have taken her husband’s life, what she encountered in Mexico and the cold and callus treatment she received from the police. Everyone in her husband’s company questioned his death and when seven years later she wants to have him declared legally dead someone is not happy, murder is in the air and Anna begins to learn more about the man she thought she was married to within this investigation. As we hear her voice when she enters the police department in Mexico, the cold and heartless interviews and finally the trip to the morgue to view what is left of her husband’s body, she and her son AJ become pawns in a plot so intricate they will be lucky to survive long enough to leave the country and return home. Could her husband have been involved in selling drugs? Where did all of the increased income come from and was his company called The Firm really doing so well? With the help of her lawyer Conrad Wentworth she hoped to find out more about this new image that she was going to see within the mirror. But, Anna would not give up and part of her knew that she was going to find out things about her husband that would change it all. So, who is trying to gaslight her and many others? Who has been sending her letters involving each of the family members showing that someone has been tracking their movements and her husband signed these letters. Could he be alive? Is there a great forger out there trying to scare her? Who thinks she knows more than she is telling? With the help of some great friends and this lawyer she hopes to answer these questions and more.
But, it has been seven years and when two police detectives, Anna, AJ and her lawyer meet in her lawyer’s office what is revealed within the pages of her journal will give readers much pause for thought, explain what she went through in Mexico and why the police decided to investigate more closely at this time. But, do they believe her or do they think she is part of whatever her husband was doing? So many are in danger and more lives will be lost before all of the deceit, lies, betrayals, greed and murders come to an end.
There is much more as the story moves from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Yucatan and then back to Green Bay. But, within her visit she meets Ramon once again the young man who will be her protector, guide and who enlightens her to the fact that there are new cartels, drugs, human trafficking and corrupt officials that might be part of the reason why her husband was killed. With AJ, Ramon, Lindy searching for her father who was in charge of a dig and is missing, they hope to find not only him but also the answers to what is really happening. So many people that she comes to depend on but just who can she trust and who is standing in front of her and has betrayed her from the start. We learn more about Jenny and her relationship with her father and brother and what one of her children endured at the hand of Jenny’s father. If not for Conrad things might have turned out differently and when she realizes his vast wealth, stays in what was his home will she find the answers or something else?
The story is told by Anna in her own words through her journal, her inner most thoughts and feelings expressed using italics and the day to day events recorded for the reader to take the journey along with her and AJ. Rather than flood readers with tons of action scenes she explains the events using her journal making the accounts more personal. But, for those who love Mexican cuisine the woman who cooks for her in her new home creates some interesting mouth watering dishes that I am sure everyone would love to try.
There are many who joined the search for Lindy’s father but just who has more information about him and who might be involved in the kidnapping? Much of the information about the police investigation is not clear and the cartel, being very clever used many different ways to hide and disguise their activities. Lindy’s father is missing what connection might this have to Conrad’s death? Putting them all in grave danger to find her father, hoping to learn more about the cartel and the human trafficking, wanting access to the most important papers, someone was paid lots of money to hide the truth, cover it up and silence not only Conrad just as he made a discovery about Art’s death but two more men working for the firm.
Anna is suspicious of everyone and wonders what one man named Herder’s connection might be and if he is there to control what is happening or is there another motive? Worried about her other children, Agahte, Grimm, Caitlin and Caroline she requests that he make sure that she receive any emergency messages from them and her family. When certain objects belonging to Lindy’s father are found and some discrepancies regarding the dig are related someone is said to be suspect and a revelation about her father spoken but hopefully not true.
Something happens and Anna is kidnapped and mistaken for someone else. Beaten, hurt, abused and disoriented she finds Lindy’s father but is surprised by what she learns. Drug cartels, art trafficking, abuse of young children, initiations that involved killings and someone hiding in plain sight at the top and has yet to be revealed. After remaining in Mexico, putting together some of the pieces, finding Lindy’s father and learning more about the art gallery within her new home, Anna returns home but finds herself in dire danger. A letter from one of the murder victim’s wives would alert her to just what kind of danger she is facing and what needs to be done to protect her and her family. Who can she trust and who is hiding in plain sight? Who is the Ka-hand who is behind this terror? Who are these human serpents or snakes? “The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythologicalsymbols. The word is derived from Latin serpents, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind and represent dual expression of good and evil.”
Dreams, nightmares, haunting events that plagued Anna’s mind and a family who supported her trying to keep her safe but can they? As more information and files are brought to light and Anna lets her guard down she winds up shot, injured, attacked and the target of a violent killer out to make sure that what he/she started is finished. Images are often changed and what she learns about Art, the judges on the cases he handled as a lawyer, the drug cartels, the human trafficking and just what he really knew would change her world and that of her children’s forever.
As things seem to be drawing to a close her son AJ uncovers some information that would bring a killer out in the open. Thinking she was dreaming, waiting for the police once again Anna falls prey to a killer so delusional, so bent on destroying her and everyone and everything in her wake. But, just who is behind this cartel, who is running it from the sidelines and who ordered so many killed you want believe who just might be hiding in plain sight. An ending so explosive and a story that takes readers from Green Bay, to Mexico to Yucatan to the heart of the jungles and deep within the minds of those running these dangerous cartels. What was Art’s role you won’t believe? Is he still alive? Who wrote the letters to Anna making her think he’s still alive? Betrayals so deep and so many close to her responsible. Serpents, snakes, poisonous snakes and those placed within the hiding places of her home might be deadly and dangerous but none so venomous, toxic or viperous as the ones faced by Anna. With an ending that keeps readers wondering what is yet to come for Anna, her family and her friends you know that the sequel is just months away when author Judith M. Kerrigan unleashes the Jaguar Hunts giving the reader a slight preview at the end. One woman haunted by her dreams. Characters that will haunt you impress you and definitely endear you to them, Betrayal by Serpent: the author sets the bar high in this one for other authors to follow. The suspense is there. The heart racing scenes will get your blood pumping and the ending with its twists will make readers want more.
Fran Lewis: reviewer