I started reading The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks last month on the recommendation of a friend. I'd seen Kevin Brooks' books in the library pretty regularly, but hadn't ever picked one up before. I thought I'd give one a try. I won't lie, it was a very difficult experience reading this book. It is very dark and very grim reading. And at the same it was kind of beautiful as well. I did like that mixture of harsh and pretty. I did have to put it down half-way through, just walk away and clear my head before I could get back to it.
Blurb from Amazon: Late one night, two brothers learn that their sister has died in the worst imaginable way. She's found, strangled, in a desolate place hundreds of miles from their East London home. Ruben and Cole Ford set out to find their own answers. Ruben is the smarter of the two, with a gift for getting into other people's hearts and feeling what they feel; Cole may be older, but he's a dark-eyed devil's angel who doesn't care if he lives or dies. Together they retrace their sister's final journey to a remote Dartmoor village with a dark, menacing core. This is a heart-stopping, heart-breaking thriller about three ill-fated siblings and the love, and blood, that runs between them.
I should have known from that description, shouldn't I? But I didn't. Kevin Brooks takes these two brothers much farther than I felt comfortable with during the course of this book. I feel like, on their quest for the truth of Rachel's murder, they've both lost a part of themselves. Ruben and Cole both do things that cross that line of decency and I find it sad, because I don't think that people can come back from that. I feel sad for another reason. During the course of this book, there is murder, rape, violent assaults, a dead dog, characters wetting themselves out of sheer terror. It's all too much for me, especially considering that this book is aimed at a young adult audience.
If I step back from the fact that this book is incredibly violent and deals with some truly horrific things, then I'm able to say that I think Kevin Brooks writes really wonderfully. I wish I hadn't been so quick to return my copy to the library so I could highlight some passages for you, but I don't. But I loved Ruben's voice. His insights into his brother, himself, those around him, for me, were worth reading the book. Ruben has such a big, sensitive heart. Also, I found the relationship between the brothers to be quite sweet at times. They're very different and see the world in very different ways but the connection between them is unshakeable.
Maybe if I were more into the mystery/thriller genre, I'd have handled this book better, but I'm not. Revenge and murder aren't my normal reading, but this book was really fast-paced and atmospheric. I have to say, more than a week after reading this book, this book is still on my mind. There's something there. I'm hoping it's the writing style of Kevin Brooks, because I have another of his books waiting for me...
A Passion for Books
Flip the Switch