Book review: The Half Brother by Christine Keighery

Friday, April 21, 2023 Permalink

The Half Brother by Christine Keighery is a bit like a car crash. Not in the sense it’s bad. More in the sense that you can see what’s coming but are powerless to stop it. Keighery puts us in the heads of sisters Hannah and Stef – dissimilar but close when we first meet them – and their half-brother Alex… who we learn from the outset has quite a dastardly agenda which means Keighery is able to create a sense of menace that oscillates throughout the novel.

Book review: The Half Brother by Christine KeigheryThe Half Brother
by Christine Keighery
Published by Ultimo Press
on 05/04/2023
Source: Ultimo Press
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 1761151509
Pages: 342

Hannah and Stef have always been there for each other. Growing up in a loving family, they’re stunned to discover their mother adopted out a child before their parents met.

When Alex walks into their lives, the sisters are seduced by his charm, wealth and social status. But as they rush to make up for lost time, it soon becomes apparent their half brother’s agenda is more complicated and sinister than the Fidler sisters could have imagined.

We start in the head of Hannah – a university lecturer who’s found love later in life. Their relationship is a bit tense when we meet them but she’s loath to confide in her parents or sister for fear of their judgement.

Stef works in a furniture store but has a flair for design and is respected in her job. She’s struggling however, sharing parenting responsibilities with her ex and grappling with a rebellious teenage daughter.

This is potentially a spoiler (well, it is!) but it was interesting that I made the assumption that their father had cheated on his wife, resulting in a secret offspring. In fact the truth is quite surprising and the end result is a half-brother over a dozen years older than his sisters. We learn Alex was adopted into a wealthy family, but one that was far from functional and so I guess his… (ummm)  ‘issues’ are understandable. Though most certainly not sufficient to validate his attitude and behaviour.

Because Keighery puts us in his head we’re able to understand his anger (even if we find his agenda confronting or merciless), but we’re also privy to the fact that he’s occasionally chastened to rethink his behaviour and plans.

Keighery is best known for her books for children and young adults, but she paces this thriller well. I enjoyed the sense of foreboding it created. I read so much crime fiction and thrillers that I was prepared for the worst but we’re taken in a different direction here and – though it kinda frustrated me (#nospoilers) – it was clever of Keighery to do so.

The Half Brother by Christine Keighery was published in Australia by Ultimo Press and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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