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Brotherly Love

Posted on

Brotherly Love

Current Status:
In Season
Pete Dexter
Random House

We gave it a C

Brotherly Love is the Philadelphia Irish version of The Godfather, an unseasoned boiled potato of a novel from Pete Dexter, the author of the National Book Award-winning Paris Trout. Michael and Peter Flood are cousins raised as brothers, but they couldn’t be more different. A bully, sadist, and coward, Michael schemes to take his father’s old job with the roofers union after the old man gets whacked. Taller, tougher Peter — a spoiled priest type — prefers the puritanical rigors of a South Philly boxing gym. Peter Flood hasn’t got much talent as a fighter, but he does enjoy taking a good punch. ”Peter ain’t like them anyway,” says Nick DiMaggio, gym proprietor. ”Maybe he don’t want to be in that family.”

But whaddaya gonna do? Family’s family, right? So when Michael needs help — whether it’s burying a stiff, killing a race horse, or having someone cover for him while he makes time with Jimmy Measles’ wife — Peter’s gotta be there. Even if he hates his cousin and secretly wants the woman for himself. Featuring uniformly repellent characters and told in a tough-guy monotone that makes Elmore Leonard sound like Wordsworth, Brotherly Love runs out of surprises long before the end. C