Tyler Keevil was first published by the Welsh publisher, Parthian, which is how I discovered him. Having enjoyed all his previous books, including The Drive published by Myriad rather than Parthian, I was keen to read his latest novel. No Good Brother is the picaresque tale of two brothers partly set in and around Vancouver, another reason for wanting to read this one.
Tim Harding has spent the fishing season in Canada working as a deckhand, making an honest living. When his hot-headed younger brother tracks him down at the shipyards in Vancouver, Tim senses trouble. Jake is a drifter, a dreamer, an ex-con, and now he needs help in repaying a debt to the notorious Delaney gang.
So begins an epic, unpredictable odyssey across land and sea as the brothers journey down to the Delaney’s ranch in the U.S., chased by customs officials, freak storms and the gnawing feeling that their luck is about to run out. But while they may be able to outrun the law, there’s no escaping the ghosts of their tragic family past and neither is prepared for who and what awaits them at the other end.
No Good Brother gets off to a leisurely start as we see the boat Tim crews on winding down after the herring season. You get a real sense of how important this boat is to the family business which operates it and how the crew works together like a family, whether they’re related by blood or not. Tim’s made himself invaluable as a crew member and is being coaxed into becoming a more permanent part of the actual family at the heart of it.
Which is when his younger brother, Jake, turns up and things take a detour out to sea and across the border… It’s easy to see Jake as the No Good Brother of the title but once Tim has (admittedly reluctantly) agreed to help his brother and they get underway, he often seems the more incorrigible of the two and the one that’s driving the action forward, making it harder to turn back and attempt any form of reparation or escape the almost certain punishment or worse that awaits them. They are despite their differences, both as bad as each other which is perhaps what’s meant by No Good Brother. Read more