Jo Fletcher Books
Up to now I have only actually reviewed children’s books so this is a bit of a step out for me. Because of my job as a children’s bookseller I tend to mostly read kids books but I made an exception for this. Your Brother’s Blood is the first book in ‘The Walkin’ trilogy and the debut novel for the author David Towsey. It has been described as a ‘Zombie-Western’ but in many ways that does the story a disservice. For me it is far more a character driven tale about families and the danger of religious fanaticism just set to the backdrop of a Zombie-Western.
Early on in the book when the main characters have barely been introduced there is a harrowing scene that displays the religious fanaticism within the book and really sets out the authors stall that he is not shy of shocking to good effect. It also shows you the first glimpse of my favourite character in the book. Luke Morris is a young acolyte to the local pastor who has absolute and unshakable faith in God, to the detriment of everything else in life, and believes everything he does for God is completely correct. Every time he is on the page I couldn’t help feel deeply uncomfortable and unsure of what he might do next.
The main story follows Thomas a man who died in a war he didn’t want to be part of and has come back as one of ‘The Walkin’, a zombie like creature that still has consciousness and memories. It follows his pain in knowing he can’t go back to his family and the events that follow when he does return home. This study of family relationships and love makes the novel a lot deeper than I had anticipated and was a really welcome surprise in what I had expected to be a zombie book.
The one area of weakness I found was in a slightly rushed and confusing ending. Obviously I don’t want to go into it too much so as not to spoil the surprises but with around 30 pages left there seemed to be a major shift in themes. I’m sure these will be developed in the second book but as a stand alone novel it felt a little tacked on. I’m looking forward to being proven wrong in the next book.
All in all it was a fantastic read and would recommend it highly. An excitingly uncomfortable read.