Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fathers and Sons: Jealousy and Murder

John Carey run his publishing company with the hand of a tyrant setting his sons against each other in a contest to see who will be the heir apparent. Charles, the elder, is charismatic and good at identifying best selling books. Philip, the younger, is overshadowed by his brother and resents it. When Charles produces a son, Peter, in spite of his unhappy marriage, the child becomes the focus of his grandfather's attention.

Unfortunately for the Careys, they draw the attention of Englehardt, an investigator for the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He has his own problematic relationship with his father and becomes obsessed with the Careys, particularly Philip. Add to this mix, Clayton Barth, whose father was driven to suicide by John Carey and you have a prescription for tragedy.

This book has a very complex plot divided roughly into three parts: Peter Carey's childhood, the competition between Charles and Philip, and finally Peter as a young man falling in love and taking over the company. Personally, I have reservations about books that have an extensive backstory. The whole first section of this book is devoted to setting up the rivalries that culminate in the tragedy of the middle and end.

The characters are interesting. Patterson does a good job of illustrating the rivalries between brothers and the problems of tyrannical parents preferring one child over the other. However, because of the considerable attention paid to backstory, the book is very long and the writing uneven. Some sections are almost literary in quality; other parts are reminiscent of a romantic thriller.

If you enjoy a family saga, this may be your book. However, it has enough short comings that I have trouble recommending it.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.