You can never go home.
Or so Teke Manion finds out when he does. Having scraped his hometown of White Sands, Florida off his shoe and joined a huge multinational in Paris, our hero is sent back five years later to access wildfire damage to over-leveraged houses (whose owners are setting them on fire ahead of the fireline in hopes of walking away from the ashes). And Teke has cut all ties including those with his “brothers”, the members of “Three Dog Knights”, his two buddies with whom he used to prank through his early years to drive the local sheriff nuts. He even walked away from the beachside cottage he bought, allowing the others to use it and never looking in. So now that he’s home, he does look in.
There is a corpse in the freezer, a dead girl with a bullet hole right between the eyes.
And Teke is in the thick of it.
My Brother’s Keeper is a pretty good Florida crime novel, having all the elements (societal change, fast money, shady deals and cracker characters). Teke (the brains behind TDK) finds himself lost and alone in a town he no longer recognizes (and living in Florida, I can attest to how quickly development sprawls over everything). Even his friends change, and without his influence, evidently for the worst. The thing is, can Teke clear his friends of the murder (and keep himself out of the slammer as well) as he deals with an antagonistic sheriff with a long memory, a bittersweet ex-girlfriend, a real-estate crook and a parade of hired muscle? You’re just going to have to read it to find out.
I’ll mention that if I had one eye-roller moment in the book, it’s the moment when Teke finds the body. Frankly, he’s a good guy, good enough to not protect a murderer, even if it was a former friend. The fact that he doesn’t immediately call the police when he finds the corpse, especially when he has an alibi (he was clearly overseas when the murder took place) and even considers burying the body until he can solve the mystery, well, that didn’t sound very smart to me. It was a bad move, one that will come to haunt him as the accusations start to fly. But that’s really my only beef with the story.
I’ll also mention that author Rod Sanford is a really nice guy (and if you like nice guys, buy the book!). He had the booth next to me at a UCF bookshow a couple of years back and really gave me some good advice on how to hook and land potential sales. He was really smooth, quite the accomplished writer (and being a writer is more than just writing when it comes to self-publishing) and helped me along. In the end, we bought each other’s books. Shame on me for taking this long to getting around to reading it.