Blood of My Brother by James Lepore

Jay Cassio and Dan Del Colliano have been friends since they were six years old. Sticking together through family upheaval and hardships, each was always a presence in the other’s life. They even occasionally worked together; Dan as a private investigator and Jay as an attorney with his own small practice.  When the wife of a wealthy businessman, whom Jay had been representing in a messy divorce, is killed and beheaded, and Dan is tortured and murdered soon after, Jay is stunned and slow to act.  But soon, he begins to think that the two vicious killings were connected, and finding out who killed Dan is the only thing on his mind.

It’s easy for me to remember how absorbing a read Blood of My Brother, by James LePore turned out to be. It was waiting for me when I returned home after the Thanksgiving holiday, and my intention was to flip through a few pages to get a feel for it, but then I couldn’t put it down because I just had to see what would happen next.  By the next day I had read until I was finished.  Dan isn’t around for very long (he is murdered early on in the book) but the flashbacks showing the development of his relationship  with Jay, went a long way toward showing what great friends they were, and why Jay would push and go the the lengths that he did to try to solve his murder.

The world that Jay gets drawn into is fascinating.  I loved the characters that he meets when he travels to Miami in his investigations.  The mysterious Isabel is also introduced into the mix, and her upbringing in a Mexican orphanage and introduction to the seedier side of life is heartbreaking.  I really felt for the choices that she faced.  My only complaint is that after carefully developing the heart of the story, the conclusion comes all too rapidly, and as a result suffers from some implausibility and an all too neat ending.  Strong characterizations and sense of place made for a compelling read, but a little more detail at the end would have made this a touch more satisfying.

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