Not flawless, but gripping

2009-10-28 00:00


My Brother’s Keeper

Jassy Mackenzie


DON’T you hate it when writers use questions to try to create suspense? I remember attending a lecture at varsity where a lecturer said that using the question as a writing  technique to create suspense is a sign of laziness. “There are so many other ways to draw your reader in,” she said. “A question tells me that you didn’t bother to really think of a better, more creative way to say this.”

That said, My Brother’s Keeper is the first Jassy Mackenzie novel I’ve read and I liked it.

Set in Jo’burg, it tells the story of a paramedic, Nick Kenyon, who is called to an accident scene where he finds only one victim — a critically injured passenger. No driver. During the ambulance ride to the hospital he agrees to make an urgent phone call for her.

He soon finds out that the missing driver is part of a gang of murderous robbers planning their biggest heist ever. His act of goodwill has now drawn him into the whole shebang.

Worse still, his older brother, Paul, whom he helped put behind bars, is free (and is the leader of this gang). Mackenzie pits the two brothers against each other in, as the cover reads, “a deadly battle where there can only be one survivor”.

Mackenzie goes into great detail, explaining everything. Her almost excessive use of colour paints out a comprehensive picture of all characters, settings and scenarios and in fact, it makes the book enjoyable. It just ­absorbs you.

The first few chapters are practically flawless — and then Mac­kenzie starts asking all these ­questions. And as the story progresses, the more there are. Coming from a journalistic background, she should have known better. After a while I was tempted to chuck the book and watch a movie, but the story, I’ll admit, was gripping. So, overall, I enjoyed it.

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