Den Of Snakes by Damian Vargas


Action & Adventure
Historical Fiction
International Mystery & Crime




125,000 (10-12 hours reading)


June 2020

Available online on the following stores

My writing playlist on Spotify


The hook

Marbella, Spain. 1985. Two brothers. One running from justice. The other running from his past.

The blurb

A time of excess and greed. A place of corruption, betrayal and violence. Former paratrooper, Eddie Lawson, had done many things in his life of which he was not proud. Still, the tormented Falklands war veteran had always kept the promise he had made to his devoted mother on her death bed – don’t ever be a criminal.
Estranged from his wife and daughter, and destitute, he hitchhikes his way to southern Spain to find the brother he has not seen for a decade. All he wants is to borrow some travel money so that he can join up with a mercenary unit in Africa. It’s the closest he can get to being a real soldier again. When he arrives, he finds his brother living the high-life. Charlie has a luxury villa, fast cars, and throws lavish parties – the product, he says, of his “multiple business ventures”. But all is not as it seems.

Eddie quickly learns that his brother is a villain on the run from the British police. He is living on his ill-gotten gains with the rest of his crew, but all too aware that the heavy hand of justice is but one misstep away. And his money is running out.

Torn between a rekindled kinship with his brother and the promise that he made to his mother, can Eddie navigate the dark temptations of ‘The Costa del Crime’ or will he follow his brother’s descent into the criminal underworld?

Author’s notes

I am a Brit who has been living in the South of Spain for several years. Lots of crazy things happen down here in this part of the world; corruption, violence, drug smuggling, money laundering, violent weather events and a vibrant sex-trade to name just a few.

Summer 2018

With my first novel, ‘SIX HARD DAYS IN ANDALUSIA,’ complete, I thought that I might switch genres for the next book. ‘Maybe try a sci-fi thriller. or even a comedy?’ I thought. I came up with and outlined several in fact. However, people kept asking me to give them another story in the same world as Six Hard Days, which has several strong and unique characters. Okay, I thought. But if I did this, which one would I focus on?
Before too long I had my answer; Eddie Lawson – the ‘Old Man’ character, the British villain who had been plying his illegal trade on the Costa del Sol since the mid-eighties. How did he get there? What did he get up to over those years? What was his origin story? What did he think he wanted? What did he really need?

Marbella 1985

The Andalusian town of Marbella was at the heart of the ‘Costa del Crime’ scene in the 1980s (and has played host to many a corrupt public official, gangster and many other undesirable characters since). I thought it would be interesting to tell the tale of Eddie Lawson arriving in Spain, fresh from being kicked out of the army, suffering from his wartime experiences in the Falklands and elsewhere. What if he had a brother in Marbella who he had not seen for many years? What if that brother was one of the many British criminals on the run from the law for their crimes back in the UK? Would they get on? What would they get up to? I had my premise, my setting and my main two characters.

All I had to do next was write 125,000 words.

Selected reader reviews (Amazon)

“The second book from Señor Vargas and it’s a belter! Twists and turns you won’t see coming, a gangster story set on the 1980s Costa Del Sol. The cars you remember, the guns of the era, the settings described in believable detail. The clothes! I loved it and couldn’t put it down. I’m hoping for a sequel, maybe set in the 90s and a Netflix series!”

“Believable characters and fast paced action. Some fine escapism here, you won’t be disappointed if you read this book soon”

“Having read the previous book by the author I thought I’d give this one a try as well. It is a prequel to the first book but you don’t need to have read the first book to follow it. This one is set in the 80’s and Mr Vargas manages to successfully capture the whole 80’s feel really well. It is another well written easy to read jaunt through various crime capers between Spain and England with a host of well thought out characters and plot twists. Looking forward to reading more from the author. Thumbs up.”

“After action-packed and vibrant debut Six Hard Days in Andalusia, Damian strikes again. I enjoyed Den of Snakes even more, liked the characters and the typical British cultural vibe around each of them, brilliantly illustrated by very well-written dialogues.
The action is well-balanced and gripping, thumbs up for a well-rounded and fun-packed literary experience!”

“Den Of Snakes was a fabulously brisk trip through the seedy dark underworld made so fascinating with rich descriptions here. Quirky characters and stunning scenery make way for rich capers, plot twists and fast action. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.”

“Just like in his previous book Vargas comes back to sunny Andalucia to share a story of criminal paradise. Bullets are flying again, partners turn on each other and as always no one is truly safe 🙂 Thanks for another smart and fun reading!”

“I was excited to see that Vargas had a new book out after waiting patiently since his first, Six Hard Days In Andalusia. And it was worth the wait. Set before Six Hard Days it casts more light on some of the characters we met there whilst having a great story which certainly could be read as a stand alone without having read Six Hard Days.”

“As Vargas’ second book his style has developed but his capacity to transport you to scene of the action remains and with lively dialogue, which would fit well in a movie, the action moves at a good pace. There are twists and turns a plenty and I was left guessing till the end. There is certainly scope for this series to either return to the present day or go even further back and I look forward to seeing where Vargas leads us next.”

“Music, hair styles, cars, even office presentation materials(remember life before Keynote?), Den of Snakes brings the 80s crashing back in style. Den of Snakes covers all the angles and doesn’t pull its punches. The men and women portrayed are vicious, self-absorbed, conniving and venal. Lucky then that such characters make for outstanding crime fiction. The message here is trust no-one and form no attachments. There are no guarantees and no expectations. A series of events then, proving the old adage that there is no honour among thieves. Quite a ride.”

“I had to get this after reading ‘Six Hard Days in Andalusia’. Action-packed. I consumed this book with a pace matching the plot.”

“Well written, great pace, interesting characters. You can really imagine what it was like on the Costa back in the day.”

“After stumbling across the first book from this author I gave this one a try, and am glad I did! It really evokes the image of the mid-80’s in southern Spain and all the glitz, glamour & gangsters. Like films such as Sexy Beast or The Business? You will love this thriller. There are a few twists along the way which keep the pages turning, and a terrific cast of characters to root for (or not!). Looking forward to the next one, Mr Vargas!”