Review: My Brother's Keeper Trilogy (Books #1-3) by Adrienne Wilder

The My Brother's Keeper Trilogy

The town of Gilford has a Big and Terrible secret hidden in the ground.
Infecting those it touches.
Exploiting their darkness.
Consuming their souls.
It’s hungry. It’s vile. It’s evil.
And it wants out.

Book One: The First Three Rules:
Marshal Jon Foster lost his purpose and his sanity the day he saw the image of his dead brother. The distraction saved Jon’s life but cost the lives of innocent people including his best friend and partner. It was a price for survival Jon couldn’t live with and was sure he’d never understand.
Driven by grief and guilt he tried to escape his past by fleeing to a small town in the middle of nowhere. Only instead of peace, the memories festered.
Then the offer of a stick of gum from a stranger changes Jon’s life and puts him on a road out of the nightmare he’s trapped in.
Ellis Harper has lived the past twenty years isolated from the outside world and sole caretaker for his mentally disabled brother, Rudy. While Ellis loves his brother, he longs for a life he’ll never be able to have.
Shut away, his days consist of chores, endless cartoons, and games of Go Fish. A world that seemed to have no end until an innocent misunderstanding turns Ellis and his brother into a target for a town bully.
It’s a fight Ellis can never win on his own but thanks to a chance meeting with a stranger, he doesn’t have to.
What begins as a new journey in love for both men quickly unfolds into something neither of them could have ever imagined.

Book Two: Rule Four and Five:
A new chance at life comes in many forms: For Jon it’s a family made with Ellis and his brother Rudy. For Ellis, it’s Jon, who has brought the outside world into the protective life he’s built for his mentally disabled brother.
Together they have discovered true happiness and what it means to be loved.
Then one perfect disaster after the other pushes Jon’s resolve to its limit and Ellis over the edge. If they have any chance of saving what they’ve built both men must face their deepest fears.
It’s a test Jon thought he’d already passed and one Ellis never imagined he’d have to face. The journey will forever change who they are and redefine who they were meant to be.
It has to happen.
And all things happen for a reason.

Book Three: The Final Rule :
Ellis and Jon need answers.
What is there to understand?
Why does it have to happen?
And what reason could ever justify losing those you love?
If only there was a simple answer. But the more questions they ask, the farther they must travel into the darkness and the things they see are not human, or even possible.
They are, in fact, Big and Terrible.
The plague is rising in Gilford. To stop it from spreading Ellis will have to embrace his destiny and Jon will have to let him go. Both men must be willing to lose everything in order to save the innocent.
It is, after all, rule number six

(3.75 hearts rounded up to 4)

There was a lot to love about this trilogy - and I will say it is a series where you need to read all of the books and read them in order. Adrienne Wilder's characters are hurt and damaged. Jon, witness to his brother's terrible death as a child has never been able to let it go. As an adult and a US Marshal he has seen more tragedy and evil than any person could hope to deal with. On the precipice of choosing to end his pain it is the chatter of a mentally impaired man, Rudy, that brings him back from the brink. Still not coping with the demons in his head, his life slowly becomes embroiled with that of Rudy's and his brother and carer's, Ellis.

Ellis has been caring for Rudy his whole life. Although Rudy was an adult when they lost their parents Ellis was but a teenager and it was only through the help of, now retired officer, George that Rudy and Ellis were able to stay together as a family. Their life consists of routine. Routine is what keeps Rudy calm and is a life he can relate to. He has rules he has to follow to help keep himself safe and life easy. But one day the temptation to touch the silky hair of the girl in front of him at the supermarket becomes too much and an evil enters their lives.

Ellis is innocent, his life has been spent looking after and protecting his brother. Jon metaphorically crashes into their family and causes unintended mayhem. The two fall in love but it is not without it's difficulties and Rudy's needs must always be taken into consideration.

The My Brother's Keeper Trilogy is a about love and hate. It's about good and bad. It's about trust. The storyline of this book was enthralling, at the end of book two and in the third book it really starts to evolve into the story that's been hinted at all the way through. There is something more in Gilford than meets the eye and Jon and Ellis are tasked with stopping it.

I enjoyed the author's voice, she has a great way with words and it is very easy to envisage this small town and it's problems. Her characters were individuals, and old George, the retired officer, was a particular favourite of mine. Though at times I did wonder how he had so much influence with the police force seeing as he was retired.

The one niggle I had with the book was the sex. It felt gratuitous to me at times and sometimes just inappropriate. When the characters are angry or upset they have sex. Sometimes this is cool - but a lot of the time it took me out of the story I wanted to know about what was happening with the main storyline not about Ellis and Jon bonking. Maybe it's because I found it hard to relate to - with one particular trauma in book two sex would be the last thing on my mind. That said, it could - and is very likely - just a niggle I had. In fact I can imagine the look of horror on the other unicorns' faces when I say my only complaint was too much nooky.

If you like a story with dark undercurrents then this is likely to be a good choice for you.

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