Adrian Magson is the author of 20 crime and spy thrillers, including the Harry Tate series, the Lucas Rocco series and the Marc Portman series. His latest books are ‘The Locker’ (Midnight Ink - Feb 2016) the first in a new thriller series, and ‘Hard Cover’ (Severn House - March 2016), the third of his Marc Portman novels.
Lou Klein is an ex-cop in Philadelphia. The very fact of his former profession. and no longer being part of it other than being a less-than-happy PI, has stained his life, breaking his marriage and making his daughter a near-stranger. But even though years have gone by, the profession won’t let go its hold on him.
His friends are cops or ex-cops, while others are acquaintances, people from the other side of the street that every cop knows and even understands, in an oblique kind of way. It doesn’t make them bad people, necessarily, merely victims of circumstance. And such a close community doesn’t help Lou forget that he might still be a cop, doing the job he loved, had it not been for a moment of madness, when he rescued a little girl from being assaulted. Sadly, even the wicked nature of the assault being perpetrated was not enough to protect him, and the event, and the memory of the victim, who survived, still haunt him.
When Jimmy Patterson, an ex-colleague and friend, asks Lou to help his sister, Franny, who seems to be having husband problems, he finds it hard to say no, partly because he had once been close to her. The trouble is, Franny’s now married into the Haggerty clan, who have the kind of muscle to push back if an outsider pokes his nose into their business. Even if that outsider is an ex-cop. And he’s not sure Franny is being entirely truthful with him.
My Brother’s Keeper is a murder mystery, but with added extras. It carries the weight of being written by a serving Philadelphia police officer, with all the accuracy and insider knowledge that brings. But it also paints the close, almost claustrophobic atmosphere of a profession on the edge, where crime is never-ending, people only half-trustworthy at best and nobody acknowledges the truth, least of all to themselves.
The storyline itself is tense, the characters and setting of Philadelphia’s darker corners finely drawn and full of life – and death. And the moment when Lou finally reveals to his daughter, Maggie, where he went to following the break-up of his marriage, brings a gentle touch among the violence and sourness of everyday life. But it’s the atmosphere of a cop’s world that permeates every page and makes this different from the norm, showing the camaraderie, the tensions and the shear grit of the job which gives it that rare touch of authenticity.
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