Brothers, by Ed Gorman and Richard Chizmar ISBN 9781909640221
Five out of five stars
The older brother becoming a surrogate father to a younger brother when the father is absent, distant or a heavy drinker is a common occurrence in life and therefore in literature. That plot is repeated in this book.
Chet and Michael are brothers, with Chet being the older and more serious while Michael was a handsome lady killer that was a rebel and regularly in trouble. Their mother died when they were young, and their police officer father drank and pursued other women, even before she died. Chet began trying to tame his brother early and that tactic continues to the day the story opens.
Chet is a police officer and he managed to talk his superiors into hiring Michael, even though he has a history of trouble with the law. Michael is married and a father, but he is once again engaged with another woman. Chet is doing what he can to intervene to save Michael’s marriage.
While there is no question that Chet has good intentions towards his brother, things are just not that simple. The story consists of a series of flashbacks to earlier incidents as they relate to what is happening now. The ending is unexpected, it is a plot twist that is unanticipated, yet not surprising. The prose is direct, and the reader develops a like/dislike feeling for both brothers.