Your brother walks up to you and says “I’m in a terrible spot with some really bad people. Will you help me?” You say “Is this illegal?” and your brother says “Yes, but if we don’t do it, they’ll kill me.” What do you do? Are loyalty and brotherhood more important than lawfulness? I suppose it also depends on what the request is, and who’s asking? Tyler Keevil has written a really skilful and entertaining book that weaves suspense, sharp dialogues and some very hilarious situations into this novel, to explore that conundrum.
In this book, Jake walks up to Tim and says “I’m in a terrible spot with some really bad people, will you help me?” Tim has a future with his current job (the first one in such as long long time), he’s seen as part of the owner family business and he’s involved in a relationship with their daughter. Of course, he has no real choice, it’s his No Good Brother. The brothers talk, laugh and fight, and it is very clear that their underlying relationship is very strong, especially as past family incidents bolster their closeness, such as the loss of their sister, and their Mum recovering from a stroke and requires constant care. Tyler does a great job creating that dynamic between siblings, their underlying closeness and the bonds that exist.
Jake has spent time in jail, and while incarcerated received favours from the Delaney Brothers’ gang. Now comes the payback, and he must steal a racehorse in Canada and deliver it to the Delaney ranch in the United States. As if that’s not enough they are stealing the horse from the Triads. Tim and Jake, have no experience in smuggling across borders, and absolutely none with respect to horses and how they are handled. Their lack of horse knowledge is hilariously crafted in a scene where they first encounter the racehorse Shenzao and need to get it into the van. To crown it all off, it’s caught on CCTV and goes viral.
“Neither of us could quite believe that we’d done it. We’d made asses of ourselves and we’d made a lot of noise, but we had the horse in the van.”
Racehorses are treated with utmost care and what starts the journey as a highly groomed prima donna horse, ends as a bedraggled mare.
It is really engrossing and entertaining following the brothers through their journey and across an international border. Shenzao hasn’t finished upsetting their plans as it is unbelievably difficult to keep a horse quiet while stuck inside a van or boat. It’s also not without its murder and violence to add to the drama and suspense.
A wonderful read that I’d happily recommend to those that love a crime thriller mixed with humour and the importance of love and loyalty.
Many thanks to HarperCollins UK Publishing and NetGalley, for an ARC version of the book in return for an honest review.