The Serpent’s Skin

Erina Reddan

The Serpent’s Skin Cover Image

Published: 02/03/2021
ISBN: 9781925700732
Genre: Literary Crime Fiction
Pages: 400
RRP: $29.99

The Serpent’s Skin

Erina Reddan

A deeply satisfying book of quiet power and dignity.’ – Christos Tsiolkas

‘Wonderful. Achingly poignant and real, with a page-turning story and characters to break your heart.’ – Toni Jordan, Fragments

An extraordinary novel about overcoming male power, the strength of sibling bonds and the secrets that can haunt a family. Most of all, The Serpent’s Skin is about the many ways we prove our love.

It’s a cold and wintery night in 1968 and ten-year-old JJ’s mother isn’t home. The cows are milked, the pigs fed, and her dad won’t answer any questions.

Sarah is the lifeblood of their family, and her absence throws everyone off course: Tessa takes charge, Tim gets in trouble, Philly retreats, and JJ blames herself. Their father works hard to keep up appearances, but something’s not right. It’s always been JJ’s job to cause trouble, and when she can’t leave the clues alone, her sleuthing wreaks havoc in their tight-knit community, and she swears off troublemaking for good.

Fourteen years on, JJ has a new life, a loving partner and a good job. But she puts it all in jeopardy when she stumbles across a chance to solve the dark mystery of her childhood. While pretending to have made peace with it, she organises a final farewell for her mother so they can all put the past behind them. Will the explosive truth finally set them free?

Compulsive, gripping and full of heart, The Serpent’s Skin ushers in Erina Reddan as a brilliant new voice in Australian fiction.

‘A fast-paced and timely novel tracing a family suffocated by mystery, unquestioned power and grief.’ – Sarah Schmidt

The Serpent’s Skin is a powerful, gripping read, with a cast of complex, satisfyingly original characters. Erina Reddan has written a rich, memorable Australian novel.’ – Graeme Simsion

‘A powerful and insightful novel that illuminates how secrets stay buried within families and the bombs and the sheer strength and bravery required to stand up to male power.’ – Sarah Macdonald



Erina Reddan

Erina Reddan

Erina Reddan

Erina Reddan has worked with words, ideas and stories all her life. She started out as a journalist, working in radio and television and was awarded the prestigious Walkley Award for her work as an ABC foreign correspondent. She has a Master’s Degree in Professional Writing (University of Technology Sydney) and a PhD in Creative Writing (La Trobe University) on girl warriors and ball gowns. She’s taught politics at the University of Melbourne and creative writing at LaTrobe University and Writers Victoria. Her family claims she can glamorise a handful of facts beyond recognition in the service of an entertaining story, sometimes at the expense of truth but always in favour of wonder.


Photo credit: Jacqui Henshaw

More about the author

‘Superbly written…This book has everything. A tight plot, entirely convincing characters, the pace of a thriller and some very arresting writing.’

‘This highly acclaimed, authentic novel is an immersive and devastating read.’