My Brother’s Destroyer
In the author’s note to My Brother’s Destroyer, Clayton Lindemuth notes that he has written a moral story, and I wholeheartedly agree. Don’t let that turn you away, though. This isn’t the sort of moral story we know from high school English classes, when we had to struggle through Nathaniel Hawthorne. For one thing, this is set in modern day North Carolina, not Puritanical New England. For another, the protagonist is no saint, but just a man doing the best that he possibly can. For a third (if anyone still needs a reason to read the book), unlike Nathaniel Hawthorne’s stories, I actually enjoyed reading this one. In fact, I tore right through it, and I’m sure when I stumble across it again, I’ll go through it just as quickly.
Baer Creighton, our not-so-saintly protagonist, lives basically on his own at the edge of town with his dog Fred as his only company. He sells moonshine from his still and writes letters to the love of his life, Ruth. But, for the most part, his main source of human contact (and certainly his most pleasant source) comes from his niece, Mae, and her three children. The scenes with Mae and her children are easily the most heartwarming in the book, but they’re also just about the only heartwarming parts. Lindemuth wastes no time introducing us to the town’s underbelly and its dog-fighting ring.
The book opens with Baer spying on a group of men running the ring, trying to determine which of them stole his dog. Fortunately, his dog is returned to him, although Fred is far from safe and sound. He is badly torn up, and both his eyes are so scabbed over that Baer can hardly bring himself to do anything with them for fear of causing his dog even more pain. He swears revenge, and the rest of the book is a tale of exactly how he pursues his vengeance.
It isn’t only a story of one man pursuing vigilante justice, however. Baer exposes many dark secrets from his own past and from the other townspeople. It never feels as though the book is going off into a tangent, however. Lindemuth is a master at tying what could be disparate plot elements together, forming a coherent and chilling whole.
One last detail (just in case you weren’t already hooked): Baer has the ability to tell when someone is lying. He sees their eyes flash red and feels little sparks of electricity. This is the sort of plot element that separates good writers from the merely mediocre. Not once did Baer’s ability feel like a contrivance. In fact, it blended seamlessly in with the rest of the book. In short, I was left completely in awe.
|Page Count||377 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|