Friday, February 13, 2009

Review of The Dead Man's Brother

Hard Case Crime's Charles Ardai is getting to be quite the literary detective. Thanks to his efforts, books that would have never seen the light of day are finding their way into print. Hard Case recently announced the upcoming publication of a brand new Lester Dent novel, and there is also The Dead Man's Brother, a lost adventure novel from science fiction author Roger Zelazny.

Zelazny won six Hugos and three Nebulas, but never published a crime novel during his lifetime, so
The Dead Man's Brother is a noteable artifact. The story follows Ovid Wiley, a former art smuggler turned respectable gallery owner who finds his former smuggling partner dead in his place of work. He is quickly picked up by the police, and then the CIA, which offers to make his trouble go away for a price. Wiley must track down a priest who has absconded with $3 million of the Vatican's dollars. This unwelcome assignment takes Wiley to Rome, where he meets up with his smuggling partner's ex-girlfriend, and then to Brazil, where he and Maria end up involved in local politics.

The story is solid, but not spectacular. Zelazny keeps everything moving along nicely, but it's all territory that's been trod before. It's entertaining, and it shows Zelazny could have easily branched out into other genres, but The Dead Man's Brother is remarkable mainly for it's status as a forgotten novel.

1 comment:

Rich Rostrom said...

Ho! I've read a ton of Zelazny, so I will be on the lookout for this. Thanks for the tip.