My Brother’s Keeper by Donna Malane is a captivating picture of the world-wide drug crisis. Both Malane and the setting for My Brother’s Keeper are New Zealand based. But readers everywhere will be able to relate to the events. The novel falls into the category of murder mystery.
My Brother’s Keeper
Diane Rowe, the protagonist of the story, is an investigator specializing in finding missing persons. Her client, Karen Mackie hires her to find her fourteen year old daughter. Mackie has just been released from a seven-year prison stint. On the surface everything seems straightforward. Rowe is to find the daughter and report back how she is doing. No promise of a reunion is involved.
However, many intrigues pop up in My Brother’s Keeper. Malane uses flashbacks to tell the story and the scenes are very effective. The events which landed Mackie behind bars are seen through the eyes of a seven-year old. Without spoiling the story, heavy drug use is involved.
Complications arise for Diane Rowe. Some are connected to her background. She has an ex-husband who has remarried and he has forged a friendship with her new boyfriend. Both men are cops. Both are putting stresses on Rowe. Other problems stem from the life of the girl she traces. In the midst of all this intrigue is a murder.
Life is not always what it seems. This is definitely the case in My Brother’s Keeper. The drug use of Karen Mackie destroyed her life. But she found religion in prison and came to terms with the past. Her wish is for the rest of the family to experience the same grace. The death of her youngest child was her awakening point.
Malane’s final twist is a heart breaker. I don’t know the author’s motivation, but her portrayal of the many damages of drug use is key to the story line. Mackie’s addiction affected multiple people, not just the lost child and herself. Families of addicts are impacted as much as the individual and My Brother’s Keeper is an excellent vehicle for this message. Fair warning, the ending brought tears to my eyes.
Drug use is showing up in quite a few of the books I have read recently. I am a firm believer that art reflects life. My Brother’s Keeper takes place in New Zealand. So drugs are all over the world. Hopefully, novels like this will make readers stop and see the far-reaching ramifications of drug use.
I highly recommend this book. The author uses Diane Rowe and Karen Mackie as mirrors. Both women have pasts that they wish to move on from. Some individuals end up with more regrets than others. My Brother’s Keeper shows how strong a mother’s love is as well as how destructive addiction can be. The novel paves a way for a future of redemption.