cover image Brothers in Blood

Brothers in Blood

David Stuart Davies. History/Mystery (IPG, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (256p) ISB

This grim crime novel from Davies (Forests of the Night) starts off stronger than it finishes. A journal written by Russell Blake between 1968 and 1970 recounts his sick friendship with fellow teen Laurence Barker, who, like Blake, lives in Huddersfield, a dreary West Yorkshire town with an aura of despair that Davies captures perfectly (“there was still enough of the town’s pre-war industrial past in evidence to keep it parochial and old fashioned despite the creeping cheap veneer of Sixties sophistication which was gradually invading the place”). After meeting at a party, Blake and Barker realize that they are both bright and bored, and with a mutual foe in a hated teacher, they plan a sadistic revenge involving the teacher’s beloved dog. Soon the pair is committing random murders. By 1984, Det. Insp. Paul Snow, a policeman with a secret, is on their trail. The nihilism of Blake’s narrative won’t be to every taste. (Dec.)