35720361The Coen Brothers meets Patrick deWitt in this glorious novel from award-winning author Tyler Keevil: a high-stakes adventure of love, loss and morality, introducing two unlikely outlaws…

Tim Harding has spent the fishing season in Canada working as a deckhand, making an honest living. When his hot-headed younger brother tracks him down at the shipyards in Vancouver, Tim senses trouble. Jake is a drifter, a dreamer, an ex-con, and now he needs help in repaying a debt to the notorious Delaney gang.

So begins an epic, unpredictable odyssey across land and sea as the brothers journey down to the Delaney’s ranch in the U.S., chased by customs officials, freak storms and the gnawing feeling that their luck is about to run out. But while they may be able to outrun the law, there’s no escaping the ghosts of their tragic family past and neither is prepared for who and what awaits them at the other end.

Quick-witted and beautifully observed, No Good Brother is an exquisite portrait of brotherly love and loyalty, examining the loss of innocence and the ties that bind us.

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
NetGalley ebook 400 The Borough Press (HarperCollins) LitFic (Satire) February 22nd, 2018

Did you read the book blurb? No? OK, go on.. I’ll meet you back here in a minute…

[elevator music]

Done? Cool… So here’s the deal…

If you would like to experience good storytelling, then pick up a copy of No Good Brother and allow Tim Harding, the older brother of Jake, tell you exactly what happened… No Good Brother is an interesting mix of thrilling, at times dangerous, adventure delivered through the prism of humour. Tim and Jake are an example of brothers where, as individuals, one is the voice of reason and the other is a magnet for trouble. Put these two together and a number of things can happen- sometimes the voice of reason wins over, sometimes the ties are cut… Tim and Jake together- well, they could create month’s worth of material for America’s Funniest Home Videos. There were quite a few laugh out loud moments for me…

Sneaking off felt shady and dishonest but those were feelings I generally associated with my brother, and any plan of his which involved me. 

No human being is alike, even when it comes to siblings and it is so that the older brother Tim gets sucked into Jake’s shenanigans. Since a tragic life-changing moment in the brothers’ lives, their paths went in opposite directions. Tim went and got a job on a boat, Jake went and got himself landed in prison. Now Jake is back and he needs to pay back some favours to the Delaney gang. Tim, being the big brother that he is, naturally wants to help Jake even though I kind of felt there was some serious guilt-tripping involved.

No Good Brother really delivers on what it promises. An epic adventure headlining two brothers, a quality racehorse, a boat, border control, hen party and the dangerous Delaney gang. As I would not want to ruin the surprise element for any potential readers, I can only say that my imagination failed my expectations- what the two brothers get mixed into is, frankly put, mental! And yet, no matter how unbelievably crazy the story gets, the beauty of this book lies in the author’s ability to set the scenes through Tim’s storytelling. Wrapped into an observant and descriptive prose, the trek across land and sea is peppered with as much tension as it is with comic relief…

The truth is, my loyalty to my brother was so strong that I would have gone along with pretty much any plan, no matter how dumb or foolhardy or crazy, no matter what. 

Loyalties and laws are broken as the two brothers journey to pay back a debt to the Delaney gang, and as they aim to do just that- pay a debt- Tim and Jake reminisce about their family’s tragic past and discover some unexpected truths which add a new level of risk and fear to the already dangerous situation.

What can I say- it was an interesting book. I laughed and at times groaned at the brothers’ silliness; mostly I enjoyed the descriptions which helped set the scenes. It was one of those books that allowed me to sit back and relax without having to think too much. There’s no mystery, there’s no who dunnit, there’s no hidden agendas… it’s a straightforward adventure beefed up with one of the most dynamic brotherly relationships to prove that blood is always thicker than water and family always comes first, no matter how hopeless a situation will get.

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