Book Review — Brother

Title:  Brother
Author:  Ania Ahlborn
Genre:  Horror
Pages:  Oversize paperback, 319
ISBN:  978-1-4767-8373-4
Opening Lines:  "Michael twisted in his bed, the threadbare blanket he'd used all his life tangled around his legs.  A girl was screaming bloody murder outside."

Rating


Deep in the heart of the Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it's served well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don't knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what's buried in the Morrow's backyard.

"But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn't like the rest of the family. He doesn't take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he's sure that someday he'll see the world beyond West Virgina. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he's immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he's become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place . . ."

~ Jacket copy




To distill it down to dregs, this book is the love-child of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Deliverance, and Wrong Turn.  The Morrows are the stereotypical Appalachian hillbillies turned serial killers.  However, despite their familial bonding, one of the children dreams of a life outside of "family business" and longs for to escape the life of a rural hick stuck in the West Virginia countryside.


 
Michael is unlike his brother, Rebel, he dreams of a life outside of the his old farmhouse.  He does his job because that is what is expected of him, but he looks on it with resignation.  He holds onto little postcards and pictures he's seen of far off places like Hawaii and New York City, and he dreams of one day being one of the many dreamers flocking to find his place.  However, he knows he can never leave Misty, his older sister.  So his dreams, like the many strawberry blondes, are killed and forgotten.  Until he meets Alice . . .  

When this book first popped up on my feed, I knew I was in for something extremely sick and twisted.  However, I was complete unaware of the depths Ahlborn would go with this book.  The chilling aspect of this book is not necessarily the "family business" or how the family "survives off the land," it is slow, methodical torture and grooming.

At some level, this book can be seen as a macabre version of Romeo and Juliet or even Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (it was not lost on the reader that Lucy's last name was Liddle).  However, that would almost be a gross injustice.  It is more a danse macabre.

This book horrified me with the descriptions of the methodical grooming and torture, as well as the cat and mouse.  It was predictable, but Ahlborn managed to keep my attention throughout.  Even though I knew the ending half way through the novel, I was still stunned when it actually happened.  

Do not go into this book lightly.  Expect that you will find yourself revolted, but also know that you will be sucked in.  If you find yourself near the end, by all means, please turn on The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel.  It will most definitely set the mood.  And don't forget a hearty bowl of beef stew.    


Much love, Sinn

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"If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.