cover image My Brother's Gun

My Brother's Gun

Ray Loriga. St. Martin's Press, $18.95 (119pp) ISBN 978-0-312-16947-3

Tersely mocking the media's fascination with aberrant violence and sexual identity, this slight, disturbing account of a handsome young man's spontaneous murder spree and its consequences--as told by his younger brother--could not be timelier. A bestseller in Spain, it will cross the Atlantic well. The narrator's antisocial brother finds, in the trash, a gun with three bullets in it and slips it into his belt. When a security guard later hassles him, he shoots the man in the face and leaves him for dead. Fleeing the scene, he steals a car with a sexy teenage girl inside. The captive, the narrator, his mother and the gunman himself become fodder for the media as viewers wait for the last bullets to be fired. In an engaging, sometimes chillingly candid, adolescent voice--thoroughly convincing in Cordero's able translation--Loriga (The Worst Things of All) skewers reporters, talk shows and cops as they twist the story, speculate on the gunman's sexual preference, are vexed by his good looks and ultimately wreak their own violence. By filtering events through the mind of the ostensibly normal brother, Loriga paints a compelling picture of unpredictable relationships and the fine, fragile line that separates functional life--for young people in particular--from the deadly fatalism of this impassive murderer. (Sept.)