Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Review: Brothers Keepers

Brothers Keepers Brothers Keepers by Donald E. Westlake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A small order of monks have lived on New York’s Park Avenue for almost two centuries. They managed to keep their monastery as the city grew thanks to a ninety-nine year lease, but they’re surprised to learn that the lease is almost up and that their entire block is about to be sold to build a new office building.

As part of the attempts to save their building Brother Benedict is forced to leave his beloved quiet monastery several times to deal with the family that held the lease and the business people who are buying it. When Brother Benedict meets and falls for a woman involved in the deal he finds himself questioning whether he belongs with her or with his fellow monks. He’ll also learn that all’s fair in love, war, and New York real estate.

This continues the trend I’m on of reading a Hard Case Crime novel only to find it distinctly lacking in hard case crime. Several of the recent ones have been character based stories with a few crime elements in them, and despite this being a long out-of-print novel by a legendary mystery writer it’s more of a low key comedy than anything.

That’s not to say that it’s bad. I’m a big fan of almost everything Donald Westlake did, and the man could shift gears from gritty crime stories to goofy capers and make them both entertaining. Like most of his lighter stuff it’s entertaining and provides plenty of chuckles although the ending is a little abrupt and bittersweet. It’s fun enough although I’m still scratching my head at why HCC printed it other than to put the Westlake name on the cover.

Slightly off-topic bonus thought: Reading this story about quirky monks dealing with a 1975 New York City reminded me in a weird way of a Wes Anderson movie. I’m not saying that a Westlake book exactly seems like an Anderson screenplay. More that I think that the ‘70s setting, quirky characters, and style of dialogue would be a good fit for an Anderson adaptation. Once that idea was in my head I couldn’t stop thinking of Bill Murray playing the abbot. So if anybody out there knows Wes Anderson, do me a favor and get him a copy of this.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment