cover image Fortunate Son

Fortunate Son

J.D. Rhoades. Polis, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-947993-10-5

In this overly complicated standalone from Rhoades (the Jack Keller series), Tyler Welch, a quarterback on his North Carolina high school football team, is taking an early morning jog when a stranger, who calls him Keith, forces him into a car at gunpoint before identifying himself as Tyler’s long-lost older brother, Mick. Meanwhile, a DEA agent and a deputy are set up in an abandoned house across the street from an informant, Savannah, and are listening to her being beaten by her lover, Charleyboy. They hope to get enough on Charleyboy to turn him against Wallace Luther, the target in a drug trafficking investigation. Savannah turns out to be the brothers’ mother, who lost custody of them years earlier when Tyler was too young to remember her and whose recent Facebook post led to Mick’s odyssey to reunite with her. The addition of a clichéd character—an honest cop seeking redemption for one professional lapse—only muddies the waters. Shifting awkwardly among the various plot lines, Rhoades fails to make readers care about any of the sprawling cast. (Aug.)