It's a pretty simple story: a dangerously large and poisonous snake gets accidentally released in New York's Central Park by a drunken sailor just ashore from the tropics. Of course it bites some people, and the first few cases baffle doctors. Once they realize a deadly snake is on the loose, pandemonium breaks out. Everyone is rushing to the scene- the police force, news reporters, anxious citizens. Most want to just find the snake and get rid of it, but there's also a herpetologist who would prefer to catch it and a strange religious faction that views the snake as an incarnation of evil they alone are destined to deal with. I was a bit intrigued with the descriptions from the snake's point of view- how it moved, what motivated it, why it went where it did- but that is only a small part of the novel. Most of it is about the uproar in the city, an outbreak of snake-related pranks and crimes, the refusal of most residents to stay out of the park, a ridiculous scene when six hundred people release their dogs at the same time- hoping they will locate and drive out the snake. It doesn't happen. The final scene is a chaotic fire and riot caused by the religious group, and the snake meets a brutal end at the hands of furious and idiotic people. I don't feel bad about giving it away because I doubt any of you will read this book- it's an amusing thing you can practically read in one sitting, cringing at the older stereotypes all the while. It has a tidy ending with an obvious lead for a sequel- if this was a scary movie (which I pictured the entire time) I'm sure one would be made.