Review of My Brother's Keeper



Posted July 25

BUSHNELL ON BOOKS: ‘My Brother’s Keeper’

The fifth mystery/thriller from Vaughn Hardacker


Private investigator Ed Traynor’s normal caseload involves insurance fraud, missing persons and messy divorces. Now, however, it’s murder, and the victim is John, Ed’s younger brother. Ed is mad and somebody is going to pay in blood.


By Vaughn C. Hardacker

Skyhorse Publishing. 2019

256 pages, $16.99

My Brother’s Keeper” is Stockholm author Vaughn Hardacker’s fifth mystery/thriller and the second mystery featuring private investigator Ed Traynor (“Black Orchid”). Hardacker is a three-time finalist for the Maine Literary Award, an honor well-deserved and long overdue. His mysteries and thrillers are hard-hitting, gritty stories of murder and mayhem, heavy with graphic violence and constant plot twists.

Ed’s brother John is a low-level petty crook and drug dealer, killed in an apparent drug deal rip-off. The brothers are estranged — one an ex-cop, the other a bum — but Ed still feels grief, anger and guilt over John’s death.  He vows to get John’s killer, permanently.

Ed’s investigation reveals John’s involvement in a $3 million armed robbery of a drug kingpin’s “bank,” but Ed can’t believe John was smart enough or brave enough to pull it off. Still, the money is gone, John is dead and some bottom-feeding dirtbags think Ed knows all about it.

He is a tough customer, unencumbered by morality or legal niceties. He beats up witnesses and anybody else who gets in his way, discovering the missing $3 million actually belonged to some other really serious bad guys. He also discovers his brother was smarter than anyone expected, setting off a chain reaction of drug gang double-crossing, betrayal, torture, multiple murders and wild gunfights.

Watch carefully for clues. Hardacker is clever with suspense and misdirection, but the clues are there for the observant reader. Even Ed finally tumbles onto the real killer, the real motive and where the money really is. And it will be a surprise.

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