“Michael was halfway through his ham and cheese sandwich when the phone rang.”
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Humour/Dark Comedy
Number of Pages: 320
Date of Publication: 17 March 2022
Publisher: RedDoor Press
My Review Summary: A book that had me smiling. Well thought out and executed.
“A dark comedy about the escalating conflict between two brothers who inherit their family funeral business.
Michael Merriweather’s carefully planned life is blown off course when he receives a call to tell him that his father has cremated himself. Michael then learns from a small-town lawyer that he stands to inherit a small fortune he previously knew nothing about, but only if he sacrifices his accountancy career to take over the family funeral business with his brother, Jack, whom he despises.
Sucked back into the small provincial world and the family funeral firm he has rejected, Michael can no longer avoid his loathsome sibling. Jack Merriweather has no idea what he’s done to deserve his brother’s hostility, but he’s about to suffer the consequences. Then, when his patience finally breaks, he will exact delicious revenge.
The Better Brother is a darkly comic tale of sibling rivalry laced with the power, passion, revenge and everyday friction of family business. It explores what happens when two warring brothers are forced to work together.
Will Michael and Jack learn to love and respect each other? Or will their acrimony escalate? If so, who will come out on top?
Who is the better brother?”
This came up on Random Things Blog Tour and I saw that it was dark comedy. I haven’t tried that genre before so I thought that I would give it a go! I am glad that I did because I thoroughly enjoyed it and despite the dark subject matter it did have me smiling.
It was well written and kept my interest throughout. It was humorous and engaging in a way that I wasn’t expecting. It was a pleasant surprise that despite the subject matter, it didn’t leave me feeling down or miserable.
It was well crafted and split into 3 parts, each with their own subsequent chapters. Each part and their chapters told a story of their own that all came together neatly at the end. The chapters were dated and titled so you knew where you were at all times. I liked the way that the title of the chapter would be mentioned somewhere in the chapter itself. The titles were amusing so you knew that you were on to a winner. It was definitely what I would describe as a dry sense of humour. It was very engaging and with little cliffhangers throughout I was compelled to keep on reading.
It was cleverly written in the form of storytelling and conversation. There was very little thinking that you as the reader had to do. It was clear and cleverly done so that you got all that you needed to with very little effort on your part. You really got inside the minds of each of the brothers, which kept me engaged. It was interesting to see things from each of their own points of view even if it didn’t always make sense to you as an outsider!
There were quite a few chapters, none being particularly long. They gave the story a good pace, yet still gave you enough information to be getting on with before reading about something else.
The chapters were alternating between the brothers. I liked this as you were able to keep up with what was happening to each brother and to see their viewpoint at certain points of the story. At one point there was a little section from the viewpoint of the dog which I enjoyed. It emphasised the atmosphere that the characters found themselves in.
The characters were brilliant. I loved the waring brothers and their own friends. There seemed to be very clear battlefield lines drawn with the exception of Cat (who befriended them both) and the lawyer Wilfred Owen. The friends’ personalities really helped emphasise how different each brother was and therefore it was difficult to see how they could ever work together.
Lastly the settings. I loved the different settings and the world’s that the brothers came from. Again the settings emphasised the differences in the brothers too. Everything was cleverly crafted to show how different the brothers were. It will always be something different that the story is about an undertakers business.
Overall I loved this book. It’s humour was spot on and the story was well executed and well thought out. I highly recommend!
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