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The Dead Man's Brother Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, February 1, 2009
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime; Original edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843961155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843961157
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,791,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Beam VINE VOICE on January 19, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
In type so tiny that it'd take an electron microscope to find it on the cover, these words appear: "six-time Hugo award winner." If you're not of the science fiction community, those words will mean nothing to you. But if you have even a passing knowledge of science fiction fandom, those words will mean everything. They mean, simply, that you're in the hands of a prose poet who was one of the best storytellers of our time.

My use of the past tense is not a grammatical error on my part: It's necessary in this case because Roger Zelazny passed away in June 1995; and in the various ways Roger intersected with my life--as an occasional correspondent; as a prospective author who was kind enough to give me permission to publish a collection of poetry that, for various reasons, I couldn't publish, which then allowed Underwood-Miller to publish it; as a contributor to my STEPHEN KING COMPANION; and most of all, as the writer whose fictional voice was so assured, so confident ... in those ways, and more, I came to his books with a tremendous amount of respect for the man, his work, and his ability to tell stories that immediately grabbed me by the collar and propelled me along through the narrative until, exhausted and out of breath, I finished the last page and closed the book, admiring the storytelling engine that Roger engineered. In other words, Roger was one hell of a storyteller.

This book, THE DEAD MAN'S BROTHER, was a joy to discover because it's 100% Zelazny. It must have been an unpublished manuscript, recently unearthed, or archived and not intended for publication. No matter what the circumstances, any longtime Roger Zelazny fan will instantly recognize it as his work, and no other.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
So, is this recently discovered thriller (written in the early 70's) by the legendary Science Fiction writer as good as his SF of the period?

Well... It shares a number of characteristics in common. There are the unmistakable attention-grabbing chapter openings and the well constructed sentences. There are the extremely, if occasional, long paragraphs such as a main character delivering plot exposition for a page and half without a break. There's the not always sympathetic character who (like the author at the time) smokes a lot -so many I was surprised he wasn't dying of lung cancer by the end of the book. There's the casual erudition and display of knowledge which is relevant to the plot -in this case Paintings (with a capital P for Art). And the purveying air of cynicism by the protagonist.

Otherwise... It's a moderately efficient thriller which wouldn't have been harmed by about 10,000 words of pruning. There's a twist which I'm sure Zelazny was neither the first nor the last to use and which I spotted early on. The story develops into something more and morally higher than it first appeared which you will have to find out for yourself as I'm not doing any spoilers here.

I had to make a little effort to keep reading early in the book but by the end was racing through it. However, the answer to the question mooted above is: no. Whatever this novel's virtues and it does possess them, Zelazny does not bring the magic apparent in his Science Fiction and I speak as someone who has just ordered the first four volumes of his complete short stories and whose favourite novel is Lord of Light. I also speak as someone who enjoys crime novels a great deal.

You aren't wasting your time buying this, and it is a nice pulp-pastiche edition from Hard Case Crime, but you aren't getting the real Roger Zelazny.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ovid Wiley is one cool character. He awakens one morning to find the body of his former partner-in-crime on his living room floor, a very long knife, a Gurkha, in his chest. Rather then panic, Wiley takes time to have a coffee and contemplate the situation. Years ago, Carl Bernini, the dead man, set up an extremely lucrative business stealing rare works of art and then selling the paintings. The two men met in Florence when Wiley was an art history student. Bernini made the young man an offer. As Wiley remembers, "So it came to pass that when I was not studying art history, I was obtaining it." Ovid and Carl had not seen each other in years. When Wiley returned to the States, he joined the military, attended OCS, and then, after completing his stint with Uncle Sam, he opened an art gallery in New York, City, "The Taurus," which doubles as his home. He is now a respectable art dealer.

The police arrive, take his story, seem to accept his tale of innocence. and then lock him in a cell for three days. The charge, suspected homicide. The real fun begins when a man in a black suit carrying a black plastic briefcase comes into the picture. He offers Wiley the choice, to remain in jail or to accompany him to McClean, VA, home of the CIA. Once there, Wiley is interviewed by two men and is offered a deal. They will make the murder charges disappear if Wiley does them a "favor." Apparently Wiley has an intelligence background, acquired in the Army, (ironic for a former thief...or maybe not), this along with his knowledge of art and several languages make him the perfect man for the job. What job? Apparently a renegade Vatican priest has been embezzling millions from the Holy See's treasury.
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