I’m featuring a special excerpt for the crime fiction, psychological thriller novel When the Serpent Bites by Nesly Clerge today.
During his virtual book tour, Nesly will be awarding a signed paperback copy of When the Serpent Bites to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!
A little bit about the author:
Nesly Clerge received his bachelor’s degree in physiology and neurobiology at the University of Maryland, and later pursued a doctoral degree in the field of chiropractic medicine. Although his background is primarily science-based, he has finally embraced his lifelong passion for writing.
Clerge’s debut novel, When the Serpent Bites, explores choices, consequences, and the complexities of human emotions, especially when we are placed in a less-than-desirable setting.
When he is not writing, Clerge manages several multidisciplinary clinics. He enjoys reading, chess, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with his significant other and his sons.
A little bit about the novel:
Frederick Starks has it all—a gorgeous wife who was his high school sweetheart, three beautiful children, a mansion and cars others envy, millions in the bank, respected in his community, admired by his employees, loved and respected by loyal friends. He revels in the hard-earned power and control he’s acquired. As the saying goes, “All that glitters is not gold,” which Starks discovers when gut-wrenching betrayal by his wife sends him over the edge and into a maximum security prison. There, Starks is a new “fish,” stripped of nearly everything he’s always relied on. In that place, where inmates and guards have their own rules and codes of conduct, Starks is forced to face the darker side of life, and his own darker side, especially when the betrayals, both inside and outside the prison, don’t stop. He must choose which path to follow when the line between right and wrong becomes blurred: one that leads to getting out of the physical and emotional hellhole he finds himself in or one that keeps him alive.
Excerpt from When the Serpent Bites:
He let go of the fence and continued to walk, taking note as unobtrusively as possible of inmates in the yard. None of them looked friendly.
His cellmate had shown up for the count at eleven that morning. The man was short and wiry, as was his salt-and-pepper hair. He also spoke almost no English, though he seemed to understand it well enough, which Starks found out when he asked, “What happens if you’re not in your cell for the count?”
“Big shit,” though the man pronounced it beeg sheet.”
Then the cellmate had babbled in his native language, which Starks didn’t recognize.
“Why the hell do they put people together who can’t talk to each other?”
His cellmate bobbed his head several times and smiled, revealing the seven tobacco-stained teeth remaining in his mouth.
“Maybe that’s a good thing,” Starks added, as he climbed onto his bunk, where he lay staring out of the slit called a window.
His stomach grumbled in protest. How did anyone survive on the crap they served? As soon as he was brave enough to ask, he’d find out. The lunch meal, his first in prison, had not only been inedible but the entire process was confusing as hell. He’d had to watch others, and be careful how he did that so he didn’t piss them off. It hadn’t taken long to realize why trays were pushed anonymously through a slot: Who’d want to be blamed for the poor excuse for food. There had also been the matter of figuring out where to sit, which he quickly learned wasn’t wherever you wanted to: Inmates had their usual tables and others were expected to treat this as a fact, if not practically a law. There was the discovery that he had to knock on the table before he sat and when he got up. He wasn’t sure why, but every inmate did this, so he imitated them. And he’d learned he had ten minutes to eat in the chow hall, as one guard who poked him with his nightstick informed him. The dinner meal was no different.
That evening, after resisting using the exposed toilet all day, Starks went to the seat-less, coverless steel fixture. It was bad enough he had no privacy, but his cellmate, whose name he still couldn’t pronounce, had pissed on the rim and not cleaned it. The small attached sink was littered with spat-out toothpaste and beard hairs. Starks gagged. He wanted to shout at the man and tell him, “You’re a pig,” but he didn’t want to be stuck like one while he slept. He also decided to keep his toothbrush far from this part of the cell.
Once he finally fell asleep, the nightmares haunted him: Ozy laughing as he plunged the knife in, Margaret’s grandmother’s bowl spilling blood over the rim like lava, and other disturbing images.
The third time he woke screaming, he heard from the bottom bunk, “Shut da fook up, you.”