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My Brother's Keeper


My Brother's Keeper

Diane Rowe, finder of missing persons, has a new client. That’s a relief, because she can really use the money. The potential client, Karen Mackie, has plenty of dough, surprisingly enough, despite spending the past seven years in prison. Karen wants to hire Diane to find her daughter, Sunny. The catch here is that Karen tried to kill Sunny seven years ago, and succeeded in murdering Sunny’s brother, Falcon. Drug use played a part back then, when she released the hand brake and let their car roll into the water. Now, ironically, she claims that she is worried about Sunny’s safety.

Well, locating Karen’s daughter is a simple enough job. Sunny moved with her father, Justin, and his new wife to Auckland, a short plane ride away from their old home. But when Diane approaches Justin, he reacts badly to the notion of Sunny seeing her mother again. Sunny, though, has different ideas about it and ultimately cajoles him into letting her meet with Karen. Being only seven years old at the time of Falcon’s death, Sunny has foggy memories of that day. Her curiosity needs satisfying. Of course, it’s not as easy as that. Justin remains skeptical, and naturally aims his bad temper at Diane for dredging up buried memories. The new wife’s motives for her shady actions might bear looking into as well.

"MY BROTHER’S KEEPER has excellent twists, just enough to keep mystery fans turning the pages, yet stays on track to keep the story believable."

Caught squarely in the middle is Sunny, who doesn’t know which way to turn. She has a new little brother whom she loves like she loved Falcon and fiercely protects. But just who does he need protection from? Yes, his mom can be somewhat apathetic, but his father seems to be involved in their lives. Maybe too involved? Why does Justin go ballistic every time he encounters Diane? Karen told Diane she’s concerned that Sunny may be in danger, but she didn’t spell out why. Now it may be too late.

From the beginning, Karen’s family dynamics cause all sorts of mayhem in this novel. Once Diane finds Sunny for Karen, she must sort out whose stories to believe. As she tries to unscramble the lies, she unearths secrets long hidden and the doubts begin to creep in. Was Karen truly the awful mother everyone made her out to be? The woman’s background would certainly back that up. But are Sunny’s memories of her mother genuine? Oh, if only the girl could replay the day that Falcon died and understand what it all meant.

Author Donna Malane has a good handle on crafting a character whose motives seem honorable but likely are questionable. Diane Rowe is a savvy private investigator, although a touch naïve in some of her approaches. While that makes her feel fully human and real, it sets her up for more peril than she needs to get herself into. Still, she’s a unique, strong woman doing a tough job, and trying to make sense of her own love interest at the same time. Finding out what happened seven years ago, well, that becomes key. Lives depend on it.

MY BROTHER’S KEEPER has excellent twists, just enough to keep mystery fans turning the pages, yet stays on track to keep the story believable.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 5, 2018

My Brother's Keeper
by Donna Malane